Perks await those who complete COVID-19 jabs
The government will look into the practices of other countries, including Israel, to determine how it can provide more privileges to those who have been vaccinated, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said on Monday.
According to Galvez, experts from Israel, which has inoculated a significant portion of its population, will be arriving later this month and will hold a dialogue with Philippine officials.
“We will look at the lessons learned that we can study and implement,” he told reporters in a Malacañang briefing.
Galvez said the added perks might entice members of the vulnerable sector to get vaccinated as well, adding that “what we see is that in order to motivate our seniors and also our people with comorbidities, we need to give them some leeway.”
He noted that in the United States, there were raffle draws for those who had already been inoculated.
In Israel, all vaccinated persons, especially the elderly, have been given more freedom to move around, he said, while those who have yet to get inoculated must stay at home and be tested every three days.
IATF to discuss benefits
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also batted for more benefits for the fully vaccinated, particularly senior citizens, saying this would be discussed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“We just hope that, moving forward, as we get to vaccinate more [and] we start to reopen further, [we should] especially give benefits to those who have been vaccinated already. We’re saying, hopefully, those who got vaccinated would also feel some benefits. What do I mean? What’s restricted today should hopefully be permitted already,” he said.
Lopez said they were also studying shortening the quarantine period for both domestic and foreign tourists who were fully vaccinated.
The Department of Health (DOH) and IATF announced on June 4 that all Filipinos who were vaccinated in the Philippines would need to undergo quarantine for only seven days when they return from a trip overseas. They would also no longer have to be tested.
But foreigners and Filipinos who got inoculated abroad would still be required to complete 10 days of quarantine upon their arrival in the country, in addition to undergoing testing.
Amid calls for the government to impose the same protocols for all travelers, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, also the IATF spokesperson, said the task force faced the problem of how to verify vaccination cards.
“We don’t have yet an international agreement on how we can verify the authenticity of vaccination cards from around the world. My personal view, as an
international law professor, is that we might need an international agreement so that there will be a standard vaccination certificate so that authenticating vaccination cards would not be a problem,” he said.
Meanwhile, 6,539 new cases were added on Monday to the country’s COVID-19 caseload, bringing the total to 1,276,004.
There were also 71 more deaths, including 21 previously tagged as recoveries, with the death toll now at 21,969.
The DOH also reported 6,969 recoveries, for a total of 1,195,181. Of the 58,854 active cases, 93.4 percent were mild, 2.4 percent asymptomatic, 1.16 percent moderate, 1.7 percent severe and 1.3 percent critical.
The DOH said that 13.3 percent of the 45,047 who were tested on June 5 had been confirmed to be infected, for a positivity rate of over 13 percent for the fifth consecutive day. Seven laboratories failed to submit their data.
—WITH REPORTS FROM JEROME ANING, DONA Z. PAZZIBUGAN AND MELVIN GASCON INQ
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