Bohol scraps quarantine for inbound travelers
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Philippines — The five-day quarantine and a repeat swab test on the fifth day are no longer required for travelers heading to the island province of Bohol.
But to make sure they are not carriers of the coronavirus, Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap ordered inbound travelers to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test result taken 72 hours before departure from their point of origin.
Yap, in an order on Sept. 7, also required travelers to coordinate with their respective local governments in Bohol so they could secure their Safe, Swift and Smart Passage, or S-PaSS, an innovative travel management system for local travelers who are returning to or visiting different localities in the province.
Keep guard up
The S-PaSS can also facilitate local travel and allows the public to access information on travel restrictions implemented by different local governments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his previous order, Yap required inbound travelers to quarantine in a public or private facility for five days and to undergo a swab test on the same day. Those positive for COVID-19 would remain in isolation until they would yield a negative test result.
The change of protocols was made after a series of meetings with stakeholders, including the medical sector, tourism industry and the local chief executives, Yap said.
While protocols were relaxed, Yap appealed to the public to continue practicing the minimum health requirements to stop the spread of the virus.
As of Sunday, the number of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in Bohol has reached “critical” level, Provincial Health Office records showed. Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City, Bohol’s only tertiary hospital, has six remaining beds for patients that need intensive care on Sunday. Bohol’s 11 other hospitals were either occupied with COVID-19 patients or were nearing its full capacity.
As of Sept. 11, Bohol has 2,132 active COVID-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the province logged 15,279 cases with 12,806 recoveries and 341 deaths.
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