BORACAY, Philippines – The province of Aklan has reinstated a negative RT-PCR result as requirement for tourists, including those headed to this popular island resort.
A new executive order that Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores signed on Wednesday, January 5, covers fully vaccinated visitors previously exempt from the requirement.
Miraflores said the new rule will start by January 8. The governor said his executive order aims to minimize the spread of COVID-19, especially with the entry of the Omicron variant.
The governor also returned the curfew from 9 pm until 4 am on mainland Aklan.
Miraflores set the curfew for Boracay at 10 pm to 4 am daily.
Prior to the new policy, the curfew was from 11 pm to 6 am on mainland Aklan and from midnight to 4 am in Boracay.
The town of Malay, which oversees Boracay, lifted the RT-PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated tourists in November 2021 as Boracay reached zero covid cases.
Malay Mayor Floribar Bautista told Rappler on Thursday, January 6, that he welcomes the new rules.
“I have received reports that there were tourists who turned out COVID-19 positive when they returned home after they took their short vacation in this resort island,” Bautista said.
He added that health officials are validating if a tourist who died in a resort on Wednesday, January 5, was COVID-19 positive.
According to the reports of the Malay Health Office, the tourist was a resident of Caloocan City and was vacationing with friends. An antigen test turned out positive for COVID-19.
“Samples have been taken for confirmatory testing,” said Bautista.
If confirmatory tests confirm the antigen test result, Bautista said it will take time for the health department to determine if the tourist was infected with the Omicron variant.
Earlier this week, Iloilo City mayor Jerry Trenas said all residents and travelers coming back from Boracay should submit to a free RT-PCR test upon arrival in the city.
Some tourists have cancelled their hotel bookings but no clear figures are available.
Mau Victa, a journalist from Baguio City, said that his family was scheduled for Boracay vacation on January 26, but had to cancel because of the added expenses in the revived requirement.
“We are supposed to come to Boracay with our children. Around 12 of us. We have planned to visit Boracay a long time ago. But now, with the revived requirement, we are rebooking our vacation,” he said. – Rappler.com