By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.
ZAMBOANGA CITY – This city will reimpose on January 12 the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test requirement for inbound travelers regardless of vaccination status due to the threat posed by the Omicron variant.
However, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, who chairs the local Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said in a statement on Saturday such requirement will only be applied to inbound travelers coming from areas with higher alert level status than that of the city.
Currently, Zamboanga City is under Alert Level 2 based on Resolution 151-C of the national IATF-EID dated Nov. 29, 2021.
The following are the specific requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from areas with higher alert level status: valid identification card (ID) with authentic vaccine card; authentic negative RT-PCR test result within five days from date of specimen collection or authentic negative Rapid Antigen Test from Department of Health (DOH)-accredited facility 24 hours from the date of the specimen collection; and, Safe, Swift and Smart Pass (S-Pass) application.
Fully vaccinated travelers coming from areas with the same or lower alert level status, the requirements are valid ID with authentic vaccine card; and, S-Pass application.
Non-vaccinated individuals or those who have not achieved fully vaccinated status, the requirements are as follows: valid ID; authentic negative RT-PCR test result within five days from date of specimen collection and must be taken at the point of origin; and, S-Pass application.
Salazar said all the requirements shall be presented to the border personnel upon arrival.
The decision of the local IATF-EID to reimpose the RT-PCR requirement came after President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered to restrict the movements of unvaccinated individuals nationwide as the country grapples with a sudden spike in coronavirus disease 2019 infections.
The mobility restriction directive of the President for the unvaccinated is to ensure the public’s safety, health, and well-being. (PNA)