Negative swab test result now a requirement before exiting Davao airport, its local chief says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — Davao City-bound passengers are no longer required to obtain negative swab test results at their airport of origin. Instead, it becomes a mandatory requirement prior to exiting the Davao International Airport

“As approved during the meeting, the requirement of a negative RT-PCR result taken within 24 to 72 hours from departure date shall not be mandatory upon check-in at the airport of origin but shall be required upon exit at the Davao International Airport,” Davao Mayor Sara Duterte said in a statement Wednesday.

This was agreed upon during a meeting between the National COVID-19 task force and the city government. Duterte said this will ensure that all those who enter the city are COVID-free.

"We ensure that travellers who enter the city are negative, they just proceed with home quarantine," Duterte said. "So we would not go after people for contact tracing since they do not have close contact."

The swab test, also known as the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR, is considered “the gold standard” for coronavirus testing because it can detect the actual presence of the virus even when the patient is not showing symptoms.

The local government said passengers have two options: to be tested at their place of origin at their own cost; or to be tested at the Davao airport for free, but will have to wait for their test result inside a holding facility for 24 to 48 hours.

Davao City will provide a free RT-PCR test for passengers who have yet acquired a negative result taken within 72 hours. The free service is under the P6 million Bayanihan Grant allocated for swab testing at the Davao airport.

Those who were tested within 24 to 72 hours from departure at their place of origin but have not received their results are not allowed to exit the airport until the result is available.

“The city government will also accept a negative RT-PCR result taken within 24 to 72 hours from the domestic departure date conducted by a laboratory overseas for an international flight passenger, provided that all results written in a foreign language must have an English translation,” it added.

As for children 12 years old and below, they are exempted from the test requirement, given that the accompanying adult passenger has a negative test result.

Duterte also asked the transportation department to request airlines to deplane first all those with negative test results, followed by those who have no results yet.