By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
A quarantine facility in Manila. (Contributed photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – All individuals who have received two coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine shots in the Philippines can leave and enter the country with shorter quarantine period, Malacañang said on Friday.
The new rule was contained in the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) latest guidelines on inbound international travel to any port of the Philippines of all fully vaccinated individuals who have been inoculated in the Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
“An individual shall be considered as having been fully vaccinated two or more weeks after receiving the second dose in a 2-dose series, or two or more weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine,” said Roque, who also serves as IATF-EID spokesperson.
He said the fully vaccinated individual must carry his or her vaccination card “which must be verified prior to departure, and must be presented to a Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation (DOTr) One-Stop Shop upon arrival in the Philippines.”
Instead of spending 10 days in an isolation facility and observing four-day home quarantine, the fully vaccinated individuals who wish to return to the country will just undergo a seven-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival, Roque said.
He said reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing will only be done, in case the fully vaccinated individual manifests Covid-19 symptoms within the seven-day quarantine.
“The BOQ shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the quarantine facility for seven days,” he said. “After completing the seven-day facility-based quarantine, the BOQ shall issue a Quarantine Certificate indicating the individual’s vaccination status.”
The IATF-EID, Roque said, has directed the National Economic and Development Authority and the departments of Health, Finance, Trade, and Foreign Affairs to convene and provide recommendations to further relax testing and quarantine protocols for certain classes of travelers.
Vaccines administered to the individuals in the Philippines should either be covered by the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization or compassionate special permit, according to the IATF-EID Resolution 119 approved Thursday.
As of June 2, a total of 5,382,172 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered all throughout the country. Around 4,088,422 have been inoculated with the first dose, while 1,293,750 have been vaccinated with the second dose.
In a text message to Palace reporters, Roque clarified that the new rule does not apply to fully vaccinated individuals who receive the vaccine jabs abroad.
“Wala pa (There is no new) protocol for them,” he said.
Under the IATF-EID’s Resolution 114 issued on May 6, all travelers who will go to the Philippines, including those who have already been inoculated against Covid-19, are required to undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Inbound passengers are required to stay in a quarantine facility for 10 days and observe home quarantine for four days. They are also mandated to undertake RT-PCR testing on their seventh day in the country. (PNA)