ZAMBOANGA CITY - The local Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) will impose the negative Reverse Transmission-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) or the rapid antigen requirement for all inbound travelers effective January 16.
The requirement will be for all arriving travelers regardless of the vaccination status and the alert level of areas where they came from or origin of travel.
The local IATF-EID issued the pronouncement after the city was placed under Alert Level 3 from Level 2 status effective January 16 to 31, 2022 pursuant to national IATF Resolution 157-A amid the threat of the Omicron variant of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
"The renewed implementation of the RT-PCR requirement will include all children, Zero to 17 years old," Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, chairperson of the local IATF-EID, said in a statement Saturday.
Salazar said the RT-PCR tests should be within 120 hours from the day of collection of the specimen while the rapid antigen test should be within 24 hours and taken from a Department of Health (DOH)-accredited facility.
She said travelers will also be subjected to the free random rapid antigen test by the City Health Office at the airport, seaport, and land borders in Limpapa and Licomo.
The World Health Organization considers Omicron as a more infectious variant of Covid-19 that has triggered an unprecedented surge in cases around the world.
Zamboanga City has recorded a steady increase in cases for the past days.
As of January 13, this city's active cases climbed to 394 from 85 on January 4.
Meanwhile, Salazar said no lockdown will be imposed on Sunday even as the city was placed under Alert Level 3 from January 16 to 31.
"The Sunday vaccine bubble will continue implementation as an incentive for fully vaccinated individuals," Salazar said.
She said all establishments with fully vaccinated employees may open to the general public at such capacity allowed by the current Alert Level Status, catering to fully vaccinated individuals, who shall present their authentic vaccination cards before they are allowed entry into the establishment.
All other persons are advised to stay indoors and avoid getting out except for the following instances: those who will attend Sunday religious worship; Disaster Risk Reduction Management personnel, security front-liners, essential workers and those people going out for emergency purposes; and, individuals scheduled for vaccination during Sundays, if any. (PNA)