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May testing pa rin! Guv Manotoc: Returning Ilocos Norte residents can enter as ‘tourists’

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The province of Ilocos Norte has relaxed its borders to returning residents following the reopening of tourism to all Luzon residents including those from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) status.

Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc on Tuesday said returning residents may enter as “tourists” in their places of residence provided they follow strict health and safety protocols as other tourists do.

If a returning resident decides to enter as a tourist, Manotoc said he/she may no longer need to quarantine but the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is mandatory.

“The testing requirements have been relaxed but returning residents when entering as tourists must limit their interaction with family members and the local community,” said Manotoc, adding “that’s one of our safeguards to minimize socialization with the local community as we try to find ways to promote local businesses.”

Earlier, the provincial government was criticized for allowing tourists in the province with lesser travel requirements compared to its returning residents who need to quarantine for 14 days in an accredited local government facility before they can be reunited with family members.

Effective October 19, the provincial government has reduced the cost of the rapid antigen test to PHP800 from its initial offering of PHP1,000 per head.

The proposed measure was approved on Monday following the unanimous approval of Provincial Ordinance No. 2020-10-041, amending hospital fees of the Provincial Tax Ordinance of Ilocos Norte otherwise known as the Revised Revenue Code of 2020.

Certified as urgent by the governor, the ordinance aims to ease traveling expenses of visitors as well as returning residents and authorized persons outside residence who need to submit themselves to a coronavirus disease test before they can be allowed entry to the province. (PNA)

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