Phl lifts Covid pre-departure testing for fully-vaxxed, boosted travelers

The Philippines will scrap the pre-departure Covid-19 test requirement starting 30 May among inbound travelers who have completed their vaccination and booster shots.,Malacañang announced the policy on Friday, a move expected to boost the country’s tourism sector which was hard hit by large-scale lockdowns and travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.,Based on Resolution 168 ratified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, all fully vaccinated and boosted travelers who want to enter the country are exempted from the RT-PCR test requirement beginning next week.,It covers foreign nationals and returning Filipinos aged 18 and above who have received their respective primary series of Covid-19 vaccines and at least one booster shot.,Also exempted from the swab testing requirement are foreign nationals aged 12 to 17 who have received their primary Covid-19 vaccines, and those aged below 12 and traveling with fully vaccinated or boosted parents or guardians.,All types of vaccination certificates will be accepted regardless of country of origin, according to the IATF.,Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat welcomed the policy, which was among the recommendations of her department to the pandemic task force to further ease the travel requirements and encourage more tourists to visit the country.,“We are glad that the propositions we have worked on have been approved by the IATF and are now up for implementation,” she was quoted as saying in a news release from her agency.,“The DOT sees this development as a win for the local tourism industry as welcoming more tourists in the country will yield more revenues for our MSMEs and restore more jobs and livelihoods in the sector,” the tourism chief added.,Puyat said the department was optimistic about an uptick in tourist arrivals in the coming weeks following the further easing of entry requirements into the country.,About 517,516 foreign tourists arrived in the Philippines from 10 February to 25 May, based on government data.,Of these, 104,589 travelers came from the United States. They were followed by South Korea (28,474), Canada (24,337), Australia (23,286), the United Kingdom (20,846), and Japan (13,373).