Due to the limited number of encoders and personnel available at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, the agency had to temporarily suspend the free RT-PCR testing for local tourists.
THE Tourism Promotions Board (TBP) has temporarily suspended its subsidized RT-PCR testing for tourists from January 17 to 27.
According to the agency, they are following the “advice from the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC)” due to the current limited encoders and personnel in its swabbing team.
All applicants with flights departing up to January 16 will still be processed and endorsed.
Applications will resume on January 28 for tourists departing from January 31 onwards.
The free RT-PCR testing for local tourists was launched in November 2021 to promote safe travel amid the pandemic to also support the badly-hit tourism sector.
Other countries have also done the same earlier in 2021 to encourage travel, but recently suspended all free testing as the new Omicron variant makes its way around the world.
The Department of Tourism, for its part, has started to roll out booster shots for tourism workers and reported that over 50% of NCR hotel staff are already “boosted”.
In an announcement last January 12, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat shared that Covid-19 booster shots are currently being administered in NCR and Boracay Island.
“Eventually, booster shots drive for tourism workers will also be rolled out in other tourism destinations like Baguio City and Davao,” the statement reads.
“Only 12.17 percent or 38,931 individuals who have yet to receive their first dose.”
A number of provinces have started to bar the entry of unvaccinated individuals including Ilocos Norte.
Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc said the provincial government has no plans of shutting down tourism but would consider doing so if “factors on the ground” make it necessary.
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