Image courtesy of Mike Escote. || Provincial Information Office

The national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has canceled its plan to require all locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) to undergo RT-PCR testing before returning to their respective home provinces.

Local government units (LGUs) are instead tasked to conduct the RT-PCR tests upon the LSIs’ arrivals.

COVID-19 National Action Plan Chief Implementor Carlito Galvez, Jr. said in an online press briefing July 30 that the national government’s plan to require all LSIs to undergo mandatory RT-PCR testing before returning to the provinces has been canceled to prevent “double handling,” or repeat testing from the point of departure to the point of arrival.

He stated that it is the host LGUs of the returning locals who should do RT-PCR testing because they have the capacity to do so.

“Yung ginagawa natin sa LSI ay mayroon tayong coordination with local government units and normally ang ginagawa po ng ating local government units, mayroon po silang capacity to test,” said Galvez.

He added that LGUs are very meticulous in handling their returnees.

“’Yong ating mga LGU, mga sigurista po kaya gusto nila na pagdating ng ating mga LSIs sa kanilang mga lugar ay talagang clear na talagang wala silang [COVID-19],” said Galvez.

However, LSIs still need to take rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) before heading home, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on the same day.

The national government in early June planned to make RT-PCR tests mandatory for all LSIs returning home due to the sudden spike of COVID-19 cases in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.