No more tests, RT-PCR for toddlers upon arrival in Bohol

CORTES, Bohol, March 19 (PIA) -- Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap has signed Executive Order No 17-1 series of 2021 which ruled out the option for testing upon arrival of returning Boholanos and incoming travellers as they arrive in the airport or port and exempted children under four years old from the RT-PCR testing. 

The testing upon arrival was an option opened to returning residents who could not afford to get a negative for COVID-19 test result by RT-PCR, as stated in Executive Order No. 17, series of 2021.  

The amendment of the earlier executive order which initially allowed RT-PCR testing upon arrival came out a week before the anniversary when Bohol closed its boundaries to curb the possibility of allowing COVID-infected persons to bring in the viral disease.

It may be recalled that Bohol closed its boundaries on March 16, 2020, and gradually re-opened on Nov. 15 by adopting the Department of Tourism’s proposed Tourism Bubble through E.O. No. 53 for tourists coming in.

HOMING FOR GOOD. Returning Boholanos wait for their LGU extraction teams after arriving at the port of Tagbilaran. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol FILE PHOTO)

The tourism bubble allowed tour groups to Bohol as long as they are COVID-free and travel as a group, never straying from their designated itineraries.

A week later, a simplified and unified guidelines on sea and air travel to Bohol and the guidelines on mandatory quarantine came out backed by E.O. No. 54 for locally stranded individuals, returning Overseas Filipino Workers, and Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR). 

With tourism response still low when Bohol only allowed large groups to come in, E.O. No. 53-A was issued on Dec. 14, this time included free and independent tourists (FITs) to those allowed in the Tourism Bubble.

As the new year started, Bohol green-lighted the travel outside of the Tourism Bubble, as long as a tourist can present a negative for COVID-19 result in an RT PCR test done on their fifth day of stay in Bohol, through E.O. No. 07 series of 2021.

With the growing popularity and reliability as well as the more cost-friendly Saliva RT PCR as travel entry requirement of APORs and tourists to Bohol, the local government of Bohol issued E.O. No. 9 series of 2021 on Feb. 2, which effectively amended E.O. 53 and E.O. 54.   

Two weeks later, guided by the Department of Health memorandum dated Feb. 16 on the recommended guidance on testing protocols for Bohol, the governor again issued E.O. No 12 series of 2021, which provided new testing protocols for returning residents (RR), returning OFWs (ROFs), APORs and non-APORS and lifted the strict quarantine as mandated by E.O. 53 and E.O. 54.

When the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) issued Resolution No. 101 recommending uniform travel protocols for land, sea air, E.O. No 12 had to be amended.

Executive Order 17 allowed the entry of RRs, ROFs, OFWs and APORs or non-APORs as long as they can show a negative RT PCR test result taken 72 hours before their departure to Bohol, unless they show symptoms of the disease, only then can they be required for a repeat testing upon arrival.

While E.O. 17 also imposed the "no medical clearance certificate and no more PNP COVID-19 SHIELD travel authority," it still retained as mandatory the LGU Confirmation and Endorsement. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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