The provincial government of Bohol has rolled out less stringent requirements for stranded Boholanos to be allowed entry into the province, requiring a negative result from a rapid antibody test instead of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
“Paningkamutan nato na negative PCR g’yud apan kung maglisod g’yud pag ayo ang pagkuha sa PCR test, mahimo natong dawaton ang rapid antibody test, mao niy kabag-uhan na gikauyonan sa among tigom sa mga doctor,” said Dr. Yul Lopez, the Capitol’s spokesperson on coronavirus disease (COVID) 19-related issues.
Alterations to the prerequisites originally set by the Capitol for returning Boholanos were made after complaints were raised particularly against the requirement of a PCR test which is difficult to arrange due to limited availability and is expensive.
The Capitol, following consultations with various agencies and local health experts, acknowledged that PCR tests are not easily available particularly in COVID-19-stricken areas such as Cebu City and Metro Manila.
According to Lopez, the provincial government will instead provide rapid test kits and establish testing centers in areas where there are stranded Boholanos.
The Capitol initially arranged testing for Boholanos in Cebu City where it will deploy a medical technician and two physicians who will facilitate the collection of blood samples for the rapid tests.
Lopez noted that the provincial government will do the same in other areas including Metro Manila.
“I hope mo sabot sa ang mga Boholanos sa Manila, isunod lang mo kay medyo dili pud sayon ang atong pagpahiluna sa Manila, nagsige pa mi og negotiate,” he said.
Other requirements for stranded Boholanos included a proof of having undergone a 14-day quarantine from the health office of the municipality or city of origin, medical certification from a government health unit indicating that they do not exhibit symptoms of the disease, and a written guarantee that they will agree to undergo another two-week quarantine in the province and multiple testing.
Lopez clarified that the 14-day quarantine need not be done at a government facility in their places of origin saying that a home or self-quarantine will suffice.
“Mahimo nga maka-certify na diha ra mo sa inyong boarding house or diha ra mo inyong apartment or balay, kana igo na kalig-unan na nakahimo mo og self-quarantine,” he said.
In an earlier statement by Governor Arthur Yap, it was noted that returning Boholanos will have to undergo a 14-day facility quarantine in their town or city of destination in Bohol. The receiving local government unit meanwhile is directed to provide a “gapless transport” for them.
The quarantined Boholanos will also be subjected to a PCR test a week from their arrival in the province.