No more swab test for all tourists in Cebu

February 22, 2021

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu province has eliminated the swab test requirement for tourists in a move to revive its economy, which has taken a beating from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia yesterday issued Executive Order 12 to ease travel restrictions “for persons traveling to the province of Cebu to engage in tourism-related activities.”

The order lays down the guidelines for those who want to travel to the province with less requirements.

For visitors to enter the island, they only need a valid medical certificate to enable them to buy a ticket for travel through air, land or sea, the order stated.

“The medical certificate shall be issued by a reputable doctor and within seven days prior to the travel date,” it says.

Visitors should also present a proof of pre-booking at the hotel or resort, accredited by the Provincial Tourism Task Force, where they will stay during their visit.

A tourist, however, must also pass the symptoms checking or screening at the points of departure and arrival, according to the EO. “But they don’t need to present a travel authority nor negative COVID-19 result such as antigen test, rapid test or even RT-PCR test for them to enter Cebu province,” Garcia said.

“There is a need to ease the travel restriction of persons traveling into the province for tourism-related activities in observance of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines and other resolutions of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases,” the order reads.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas yesterday called on residents to follow protocols, saying that “a lockdown is economically suicidal.”

At a virtual press conference, DOH-7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said the region should remain under modified general community qurantine.

“We cannot be on a lockdown again. It would be economically suicidal for us and I don’t think this will solve our problem right now,” Loreche said.

“We do not actually recommend that we will be placed in a strictier quarantine status. We understand that our cases continue to rise and we expected this. Again we already have an open economy, we already know that there are so much people movement, establishments are already open, so we expected that,” she said.

“If we are going to lock down, as in lock down the entire Central Visayas or maybe Cebu City which has the highest number (of COVID cases), what will be the impact on the economy, can we still survive?  The virus, I believed, is just all over town. But the thing is, we in Central Visayas really thought of having a scientific way of looking at things,” Loreche said.

She said they are now conducting bio-surveillance to guide them on how to control the virus and learn to live with COVID. – Michelle Palaubsanon/The Freeman

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