Baguio City, Philippines (Oct 3, 2020) – The DOH has chosen Baguio City as pilot city for the fast and cheaper Rapid Antigen test of Covid-19. The Antigen test uses samples taken via swabs for the determination of current and active infection in a person similar to the more common RT-PCR test. The biggest advantage against the RT-PCR test is that test results comes back faster at around 15 minutes.
DOT Secretary praised the new faster and cheaper way of testing as it will benefit will encourage visitors to the city as the “Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor” has been opened for tourists.
“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.
“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.
The pilot test in Baguio will help DOH determine if antigen tests can be used as an official test or whether testing can be done in the earliest stages of infection.
As stated in the Inter-Agency Task Force on Infectious Disease (IATF) Resolution No. 73, antigen testing is allowed together with other Covid-19 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 reopening of Philippines tourist spots are being done slowly and cautiously to ensure the safety and health of visitors. Along with Baguio, other popular destinations like Boracay has reopened. The use of this new type of test for Covid-19 infection will surely help.