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IATF discussing proposal to scrap quarantine for fully vaxxed travelers

/ 03:08 PM November 12, 2021
IATF discussing proposal to scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers

FILE PHOTO: In this June 2, 2020, photo, repatriated OFWs arrive at the NAIA Terminal 2 to board their flights as the NAIA resumes operations starting Monday, June 1, 2020, under the General Community Quarantine. INQUIRER FILE/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has started discussions on the proposal to remove the facility-based quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travelers abroad, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

“Ito ay pinag-uusapan na. Actually, this was part of the discussion in the IATF yesterday at ito po ay further na pinapaaral ng IATF officials para makita natin talaga ang mga pros and cons based on scientific evidence,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told an online media briefing when asked about the proposal of presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion to lift quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated travelers abroad.

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Vergeire noted that even if COVID-19 tests will be conducted before and after the flight, “anything can happen in between when you go and travel from your point of origin to your country of destination.”

“Kailangan talagang mabusisi po nating pag-aralan ito para hindi tayo magkaroon ng increased risk of infections kung saka-sakali (We need to study this well so that we will not have increased risk of infection,” she said.

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“So pinag-aaralan (This is being studied) and maybe in the coming weeks, after the IATF [meeting] next week, we can already provide appropriate recommendations based on science and evidence,” she added.

Under government guidelines, only fully vaccinated travelers from countries in the “green list” may enter the Philippines without undergoing a facility-based quarantine.

In a media forum on Thursday, Concepcion said the goal should be to totally scrap the facility-based quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers.

“We brought down the quarantine to 10 days to five and seven days… The objective is to take this down to zero quarantine. In exchange for the zero quarantine, we propose that 48 hours prior to departure, those departing out of North America or wherever they are leaving take a PCR test then upon arrival take another PCR test. That already is going to make it even much safer,” he said.

“We really should open up to balikbayans wanting to come home, eventually tourists vaccinated. Greater privileges should be given to the fully vaccinated by reducing the number of quarantine days or eliminating it entirely,” he added.

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