Duque raises concern on eased quarantine rule for vaxxed travelers
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday raised concerns on the latest policy of the pandemic task force allowing fully vaccinated Filipino and foreign travelers from “green” countries to skip a facility-based quarantine as long as they present a negative COVID-19 test.
Duque said he will raise some issues on the latest policy before the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
“I was told that in some countries they are doing this now but those countries can afford to do it because their national vaccination coverage is at 70 percent, whereas we are only at 30 percent and not all travelers are passing through NCR (National Capital Region), some travelers are going to Davao, to Cebu, to other airports,” Duque said in an ABS-CBN News Channel – Headstart interview.
“So that is a cause of concern. I am going to raise this later once the IATF reconvenes for this week,” he said.
He said he was not present in the IATF meeting on Wednesday where the policy was approved because he attended a Senate hearing on the proposed budget of the Department of Health.
According to Duque, he was told that some countries are also not requiring facility-based quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers, but he noted that the vaccination coverage in these countries is already high.
But since the latest policy was already approved, Duque said authorities will just have to strictly monitor the country’s borders.
“It’s there, so we just have to monitor this border control and very closely monitor this. This will also be a subject of IATF discussion this afternoon,” he said.
Duque pointed out that National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año were likewise not present in the recent IATF meeting where the new protocol was approved.
“So we will see how this is gonna turn out because we have some issues to raise,” he added.
Duque said he has always supported the implementation of a facility-based quarantine.
“That’s been my position, so now that apparently the IATF went through the process and they approved this, then what we can do now is just to strictly monitor this change in border control policy, because if I recall, even the President said he wanted to just reduce the quarantine period but not to get rid or do away with the quarantine period,” he said.
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