Unvaccinated employees required to do on-site work in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 classification will no longer be required to undergo real-time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, Malacañang announced Tuesday.
Acting presidential spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said this comes after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) updated testing requirements for unvaccinated eligible employees.
Based on updated testing requirements, establishments and employers must require eligible employees who are tasked to do on-site work to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in areas where there are sufficient supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.
However, for on-site work purposes, those who remain unvaccinated will be required to undergo RT-PCR tests once every two weeks or weekly antigen tests. The testing requirements will be reinstated in areas under Alert Level 2 classification or higher.
Exempted from this testing requirement are employees with recent COVID-19 infection within 90 days and those with alternative working arrangements that do not require on-site reporting.
Meanwhile, employees in the public sector, including local government units, may cover the costs of the RT-PCR or antigen tests to be administered, subject to the availability of funds, civil service, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations.
Metro Manila will remain under Alert Level 1 status until July 15.
The Philippines logged a total of 4,634 new Covid-19 cases from June 20 to June 26, which is 53 percent higher than the cases reported the previous week, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
The Philippines meanwhile will receive at least 17 million more doses of coronavirus vaccines from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility after the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF), bared the COVAX commitment Monday night when he welcomed 299,520 doses of Pfizer jabs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 with United States Embassy Manila Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava.
The jabs were donated by the US government through COVAX and was the final vaccine delivery under the Duterte administration.
The Philippines received a total of 245,382,600 doses under Duterte’s watch, with 35.6 million doses donated by the US government out of the 74.2 million from COVAX.
The Philippines has so far administered 153,280,975 Covid-19 doses – 70,358,616 Filipinos fully vaccinated and 14,861,027 with first booster shots.
Galvez hopes the Marcos administration will build on the US-Philippine partnership, especially in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Variava said the partnership to fight Covid-19 will continue as she encouraged getting booster shots as well to strengthen immunity against the virus. With Vito Barcelo