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Thursday, August 5, 2021

PH eases quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated travelers from ‘green countries’

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Kyla Marie Nigos
Kyla is an incoming senior at the Far Eastern University-Manila majoring in Philippine Arts, Culture, and Society. She aims to amplify the voices of migrants and international human rights through her writings.

All arriving individuals starting 1 July who were fully vaccinated in the Philippines or abroad will undergo a shorter quarantine period instead of the previously mandated 10 days, including those who ‘stayed exclusively’ from ‘green countries’ for the last 14 days before arrival. 

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles of the Philippine government’s coronavirus task force presented the latest resolution of the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases during the Department of Health Townhall Session on Quarantine Protocols and Border Control on 30 June 2021. 

The previous guidelines laid down by the task force requires 10 days of facility-based quarantine, RT-PCR testing on the seventh day, and four days of home quarantine. Moreover, the new IATF-EID resolution mandates a seven-day facility-based quarantine from the date of arrival for fully vaccinated individuals regardless of travel history. Testing of individuals will still be required on the fifth day to prevent further overseas acquired cases. 

Introduction and welcome remarks to DOH Town Hall Session on Quarantine Protocols and Border Control from the DOH Communications Management Unit posted on Department of Health (Philippines) YouTube account, 30 June 2021
Karlo Nograles presenting the latest on testing and quarantine protocols and the new guidelines as per IATF-EID Resolution No. 123-C 
Nograles on outbound travel guidelines and restrictions

If the test result is negative completion of the seven-day quarantine will still be required; should the test show positive results, prescribed isolation protocols will be observed. Individuals who have undergone seven days quarantine and have tested negative for the RT-PCR will be issued a certificate by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) indicating vaccination status for “unhampered entrance” to LGU destination, the IATF said. 

Nograles added during his presentation that the RT-PCR testing on the fifth day from the previous mandated seventh day testing would be subject to review by the agency 30 days after implementation.

In a taped press briefing on 30 June, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque named 57 countries and jurisdictions that will be provided the ‘green lane’ policy for arriving individuals. Identified ‘green countries’ are classified by the Department of Health (DOH) as “low-risk countries and jurisdictions based on disease incidence rates.” Among these countries are China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia. 

Admin Hans Leo Cacdac presenting OWWA’s Airport Assistance program for returning OFWs assisted by the Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Marine Corps

Fully vaccinated individuals entering the country should present their international certificate of vaccination (ICVs) or official documentation of full vaccination validated by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), whichever is applicable.

Moreover, Nograles reiterated that individuals coming from “non-green countries” should comply with testing and quarantine protocols prescribed by the IATF to prevent community transmission of the new Delta variant and other variants of concern. As of 30 June, travelers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman and UAE are temporarily not allowed to enter the Philippine borders until 15 July, including those individuals with travel history in the countries mentioned 14 days before arrival. 

Main photo source: Pexels

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