Siargao Now Accepts Saliva Test Results for Travel Requirements
The test is available at Philippine Red Cross, SM MOA, and SM Megamall.
(SPOT.ph) Local tourist destinations started easing their borders following months of closure amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But, of course, there's still the risk of virus transmission; and one way to regulate this is by asking travelers to take a COVID-19 test before going around. For Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, tourists were initially required to present negative results of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test using swabs from the nose or throat. But a memorandum order released on February 10 announced that the province is now accepting the saliva test.
The Department of Health on January 21 gave the Philippine Red Cross the go signal to start offering the use of saliva as an alternative specimen for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, which is still considered the gold standard for checking pathogens. They opened the saliva-based testing service on January 25 in their Mandaluyong headquarters and Manila laboratory.
You can book an appointment online in either outposts and pay online (P2,000) through GCash or GrabPay. The whole process takes about 10 minutes, but individuals are advised to be at the appointment venue at least 15 minutes before their schedule. Turnaround time is from six to 12 hours with results sent to you via e-mail.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) also partnered with SM Supermalls to provide drive-through saliva-based RT-PCR testing at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City and SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. Both testing centers are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and cost is also at P2,000.
In an interview with OneNews on January 25, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire clarified that only PRC is granted approval to conduct the saliva-based RT-PCR testing. Private laboratories offering this test may face sanctions, she added.
Here's the complete list of Siargao travel requirements:
- negative results of either a swab-based RT-PCR test or saliva-based RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours
- five-day confirmed booking at an accredited accommodation establishment
- travel itinerary
- roundtrip tickets
These travel requirements are implemented at the Surigao City Airport and Siargao Island Airport.
For updates, follow Municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte on Facebook.