Covid-19 tests re-imposed for travelers

BAGUIO CITY – (18 March 2021) – The city started administering Antigen (AG) or Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests for Covid-19 travelers and tourists entering the city since last Friday, March 19.

This was implemented as to Executive Order 38, issued by Mayor Benjamin Magalong on March 16, Tuesday.

Negative results of saliva, antigen or RT-PCR tests done outside of the city, but submitted within 72 hours is accepted, it was known.

Confirmatory RT-PCR tests are administered to symptomatic travelers or tourists or those who tested positive with AG, with quarantine pending the release of results. Refusal of entry or referral to the nearest health facility may be done for travelers confirmed positive through RT-PCR, the gold standard test for Covid-19.

As an alternative to saliva, AG or RT-PCR tests, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) X-ray scan may be availed of by travelers, the machine to be installed and ready on Monday, March 22.  

During the regular City Ugnayan done Wednesday afternoon, Executive Assistant to Mayor Magalong, Atty Althea Alberto, confirmed that the following should be tested for Covid-19:

•             Non-resident Private Sector Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) on Official Travel;

•             Non-Resident Travelers on personal, leisure, or non-work related travel purposes;

•             Tourists; and,

•             Returning Baguio Residents (RBRs).

Other travelers required to be tested or would need negative antigen, saliva or RT-PCR test result, done within thirty days are:

•             Private sector APORs who currently reside, or work, in Baguio City, and travelling daily or weekly through city borders on a home-to-work and vice-versa route; and,

•             Resident Non-APORs returning to the city from personal, leisure, or non work-related travels in other localities.

The following are exempted from testing:

•             Government Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) on official travel;

•             Passing through travelers;

•             Drop and Go (drivers);

•             Emergency and Non-Emergency Medical Cases; and

•             Cargo, Utilities, and those on humanitarian causes.

Emergency and non-emergency medical cases should follow the health protocols determined by the medical facility of their choice or being referred to.

No tests are required for resident health workers as they are regularly tested, but would have to be health-checked at the triage.        

Registration with or  should also be done, with QR or QTP code presented at the borders by travelers or tourists. Aside from the Covid-19 test results and hdf registration, valid government IDs, documents and licenses as proof of business, transactions, appointments, and employment need to should also be presented by the travelers when requested at the borders.     

Residents of Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) may register online or on downloadable forms at when travelling within the area. Protocols outside of the BLISTT area apply for travelers.

Travelers should also use face shield and mask, practice minimum health protocols, and observe physical distancing, Alberto pointed out during the media forum.    

EO 38 states that travelers may avail of the Artificial Intelligence X-Ray scan as alternative to AG or RT-PCR screening, the machine to be available at the Baguio Convention central triage on March 22, Monday. 

Said guidelines were crafted based on earlier issuances from the Inter-Agency Local Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) which the city adopted to enforce minimum public health standards.

AG tests are less expensive alternatives to RT-PCR and serves as additional safety precaution for screening travelers as Covid-19 dedicated hospital facilities nears capacity for occupancy, the EO states. – Julie G. Fianza