DOH studying eased quarantine protocols for international arrivals

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2022 05:01 PM

Passengers check in for a flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City on January 3, 2022 amid Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
Passengers check in for a flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City on January 3, 2022 amid Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA— The health department is looking into the possibility of easing quarantine restrictions for international arrivals, following the suggestion of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic adviser. 

In a public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire allayed the public's concerns should the proposal push through.

The proposal they received, Vergeire said, states that quarantine and isolation for incoming travelers would be reduced or removed completely. 

"Mayroon pa po tayong safeguards, layers of protection na atin pong aasahan kung saka-sakaling aalisin na o tatanggalin ang control sa ating borders," Vergeire explained. 

(We have safeguards and layers of protection that we can expect should we remove completely our control in our borders.)

"Isa po ito sa naipag-utos ng IATF na pag-aralan itong proposal na ito, so we are now studying this together with our experts kung ano ang tamang rekomendasyon na maibibigay natin," she added. 

(This is one of the things that the IATF asked us to study. So we are now studying it with our experts so we could come up with a recommendation.)

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion earlier said this is needed to help the airline and travel industry.

Concepcion said the US does not require specifically the use of RT-PCR tests or facility quarantines for arriving passengers. 

Inbound passengers to the US only need a negative result from an antiviral test, not necessarily an RT-PCR, taken no more than 24 hours before departure. 

Some arriving passengers in the country though have tested positive for COVID-19 during their quarantine period in hotels. 

The Philippines is currently battling a fresh wave of new COVID-19 infections most likely driven by the more transmissible omicron variant. 

On Saturday, the DOH confirmed 30,552 more infections, raising the country's active cases to more than 280,000. 

ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said the day's tally is the 10th highest since the pandemic began. 

— With a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

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