DOH says no to 21-day quarantine for travelers even as new COVID-19 strain detected

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2021 05:14 PM

DOH says no to 21-day quarantine for travelers even as new COVID-19 strain detected 1

MANILA — The Department of Health would not recommend the extension of the mandatory quarantine period for travelers to 21 days like what Macau did in December, even as the Philippines detected additional cases of the new and more transmissible COVID-19 variant.

“I don’t think so,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing. “Sabi ng experts (According to our experts) and evidence states mode of transmission is still the same. Incubation period is still the same.”

Instead, protocols on quarantine and contact tracing must be strengthened, Vergeire said.

She said local government units should ensure that travelers comply with the 14-day quarantine period.

There are currently 17 UK variant cases in the country. During contact tracing, it was discovered that some travelers who tested negative upon arrival in the country tested positive for COVID-19 upon re-test.

Asked if the DOH will recommend a total lockdown with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Vergeire said they cannot place an area under “lockdown forever.”

“Mukhang nagwowork sa atin ang granular lockdowns,” she said.

(It seems granular lockdowns are working.)

There are currently more than 500,000 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.