Flying from the Philippines amid the pandemic? You must now present a valid negative PCR certificate before boarding an aircraft bound for select Asian destinations, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) announced in new advisories.
For a Filipino passenger to qualify for a flight to Abu Dhabi, China, Dubai, Hong Kong, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and Taiwan, one must first have a PCR certificate that shows he or she is negative of COVID-19. “All affected passengers are strongly advised to get in touch with their respective air carriers to get the details on the implementation of the new regulation,” one of the advisories added.
Only those who show a negative PCR certificate “issued by government-recognised [and] -accredited testing institutions” may board their flights to the above-mentioned destinations. Meanwhile, those who show positive results could be denied checking in for their flights despite having a confirmed booking with their respective airlines.
What is a PCR certificate and how can Filipinos get one?
PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, is a form of testing for COVID-19. It detects a person’s current condition by getting swabs through the nose or throat. This is in comparison to the more affordable rapid testing being done for passengers arriving in the country from abroad. With a turnaround time of around three to four days, PCR tests produce more accurate results according to experts.
To get a PCR certificate for your overseas essential travel, go to the nearest testing facility, and pay for the corresponding fee. Prices range from ₱4,000 to ₱13,000. Some hospitals in Metro Manila offering PCR tests include St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig and Quezon City, The Medical City in Pasig, and Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan. According to the Department of Health, there are at least 100 licensed facilities in the country where you can take the PCR test.
Some carriers, Philippine Airlines being one of them, have also partnered with One Health Medical Services Inc., Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Kaiser Medical Center, and Safeguard DNA Diagnostics Inc. Passengers of the said airline may avail of PAL-exclusive testing fee discounts and queueing priority at these testing laboratories and facilities.
For most of these destinations, the PCR certificate must be valid at least two days prior to departure from the Philippines. Transit passengers travelling through Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and South Korea are likewise exempted from taking the PCR test. Meanwhile, the new regulation only applies to select airports in some of these countries. They include Incheon International Airport in South Korea and Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan.
Featured image credit: Lei Jiang | Unsplash