Capitol starts free rapid antigen tests at airport, seaports on Feb. 1

The Negros Occidental provincial government will start conducting free rapid antigen tests (RAT) for inbound travelers at the Bacolod Silay Airport and at seaports starting Tuesday, February 1.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson issued an executive order Monday, January 31, extending the Alert Level 3 status of Negros Occidental until February 15 at which time the provincial government will conduct the RAT free of charge for arriving passengers at airports and seaports.

This requirement will only be from February 1 to 15 to protect residents during the Omicron variant surge in other parts of the country, Lacson said in Executive Order No. 22-03 Series of 2022.

Passengers with reactive rapid antigen tests will have the option to either undergo facility based quarantine or home quarantine, he said.

The provincial government will also honor non-reactive RAT results prior to travel that must be valid 48 hours from date of swab sample extraction issued by a Department of Health (DOH) accredited clinic or laboratory.

It will also honor negative RT-PCR test results prior to travel valid 72 hours from date of swab sample extraction issued by a DOH accredited laboratory.

All inbound travelers regardless of vaccination status shall also be required to present an S-PASS.

The provincial government cannot provide the RAT for land based travelers due to lack of swabbing facilities at the borders, Lacson said.

Land based travelers should present non-reactive RAT results or negative RT-PCR test results, he said.

Exempted are government officials and personnel on official business as allowed in national Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution 98-A, Series of 2021?

Individuals apprehended with fake documents will face criminal sanctions. They will also be quarantined for 14 days at a provincial government healing facility and undergo RT-PCR tests on the fifth day from arrival at his or her expense.

Air travel to Negros Occidental is restricted to two Manila-Bacolod-Manila flights per airline company a day, the EO said.

Sea vessels will be allowed to admit passengers up to 50 percent of their capacity.

The provincial government is also adopting a Department of Health circular allowing home quarantine and isolation of probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases with no symptoms, mild symptoms or moderate symptoms, the EO said.

The EO states that persons below 18 years of age, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities will only be allowed to travel to obtain essential goods and services, for work permitted industries and offices, and individual outdoor exercises.

The order also limits outdoor venue capacity to 50 percent regardless of vaccination status, and indoor venue capacity to 30 percent for fully vaccinated individuals only.*

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