Philippines govt called upon to ramp up testing among tourism frontliners

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Philippines speaker Alan Peter Cayetano wants the government to ramp up testing among tourism frontliners as the country prepares for reviving domestic tourism.

Cayetano cited the need to include tourism in the government’s plan to expand its testing strategy to cover nonmedical frontliners, who are not showing symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). He also urged the Department of Tourism (DoT) to work with the Task Force Test, Trace, Treat and the private sector to accelerate the plan to conduct Covid-19 testing for the workers in key tourist destinations, Manila Times has reported.

“An aggressive and sustained Covid-19 testing of tourism frontliners is necessary to facilitate faster recovery in the tourism industry and ensure a safe working environment,” he said.

“With the increased testing capacity in the country, tourism workers can be included in the expanded testing program. This initiative can help build trust and confidence of the domestic tourists as we begin to reopen more economic activities in the next few months,” he added.

“Now is the best time to assess and plan to rebuild our domestic tourism industry. Our tourism sector needs to adapt, innovate and manage the changing requirements of local tourists as we transition to [the] ‘new normal’ phase,” Cayetano said.

He pushed for the enactment of the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines or Arise Philippines Act, which provides for mass testing in areas with higher possibility of Covid-19 transmission.