‘Green flights’ proposed in place of quarantine requirement
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion on Thursday proposed the launch of so-called green flights, which will carry only fully vaccinated travelers, as a solution to ease the stringent quarantine requirement for international passengers traveling to the Philippines.
“This could relax the quarantine restrictions further to as low as 24 hours or overnight,” Concepcion said.
He said the proposed “green flights” could address the hesitation among returning Filipinos and international travelers, many of whom would have already spent hours on the plane and yet faced five days of facility quarantine even if they were fully vaccinated, or seven days if unvaccinated.
New PCR testing technology
Concepcion had earlier proposed testing inbound international passengers 48 hours before departure and testing again once they arrive in the country in lieu of the quarantine regulation.
He added that a US-based company, which he did not identify, has offered to pilot-test a PCR testing technology that could pool the examination of as many as 25 passengers and have their results available upon their arrival in the Philippines.
Concepcion had noted that the United States and Canada were not in the Philippines’ green-list countries, which meant that even fully vaccinated travelers arriving from the North American countries have to undergo a COVID-19 test after spending five days at a quarantine facility, while the unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and those whose vaccination status are unclear have to test after seven days in quarantine.
He said this was the primary reason travelers from North America were postponing their plans to visit the Philippines.
Under Concepcion’s new proposal, travelers from the United States and Canada would be tested 48 hours before departure and then tested again once they arrive in the Philippines.
The test would be done either at their homes if they live within Metro Manila, or at the quarantine hotel if they did not have a place to stay.
“This is such a substantial reduction from being tested only after the required five days spent at the quarantine hotel, They have to spend only one day at the hotel if they can’t do the testing at home,” Concepcion said.
“We can do this to give peace of mind to our returning Filipinos and their loved ones and the families they will go home to. As the Christmas spending starts, a lot of the country’s businesses will [also] reap the benefits,” he added.
Concepcion has cited the increasing vaccination rate and the dip in the number of new COVID-19 cases as “reason enough” for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to consider easing the quarantine rule.
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Romualdez earlier said in a Go Negosyo forum that 90 percent of Filipinos in the United States have been vaccinated and many of them were hoping to go back to the Philippines, but were concerned about the quarantine rules imposed for countries not included in the green list.
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