DOT sees domestic tourism boom in Baguio with affordable Antigen Testing

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomes the adoption of the Antigen Testing as a way to determine if Baguio City’s visitors are COVID-19 free.

“Together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Department of Health (DOH), and Baguio City, we support the piloting of the Antigen Testing so that Filipinos are encouraged to travel using a more affordable test with instant results,” the tourism chief said.

As stated in the Inter-Agency Task Force on Infectious Disease (IATF) Resolution No. 73, Antigen Testing is allowed together with other COVID testing methods to be used on domestic tourists and authorized and essential travelers. In Baguio, it runs parallel with Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests (RT-PCR) for comparison.

The opening anticipates an increase in the number of leisure trips and commuter traffic within the region, and in the other parts of the country where COVID cases have been declared low and controlled.

“The re-opening of tourism in Baguio City is a calibrated and deliberate move after consultations with the stakeholders, the community and the health sector. We will never compromise the health and safety of our constituents and visitors. That is why we are working on the principle of safe, sure and responsible travel,” said Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

Baguio City was chosen by the DOH for pilot use of the Rapid Antigen test for its model performance in contact tracing and containment of the COVID-19. The test collects and uses swab samples to test and determine the current and active infection in the person just like the RT-PCR test, but results come in approximately 15 minutes.

Baguio results will help determine if Antigen Tests can be used as an official test or whether testing can be done in the earliest stages of infection.

“Faster and cheaper, Antigen Testing will benefit potential visitors of the city now that the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor is in full swing,” enthused Puyat.

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