Leachon: Why revise quarantine rules for international travelers?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2022 08:03 AM | Updated as of Jan 29 2022 03:50 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE)—A former government adviser on Saturday raised questions about the government's revised protocols for international travelers, noting that the threat of COVID-19 does not end even if a passenger is fully vaccinated. 

Dr. Tony Leachon said arriving travelers must still be tested, even rapid antigen tests, to control transmission. Some people test positive for COVID-19 days after arriving in a country, he said. 

"Tatanggalin mo ang testing, eh testing essential feature and pillar ’yan to curb the pandemic. Kung wala kang testings, wala ka ring ia-isolate, wala ka ring ika-quarantine," Leachon said in an interview on Teleradyo. 

"Hanggang 10 days ang virus, at enclosed space ang airplane na alam mong puwedeng magkaroon ng transmission during the flight."

The health department, meanwhile, said the decision was made by experts in the inter-agency task force. 

This also aimed to boost the economy's recovery, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said.

"Kahit sa ibang bansa, nakita naman na hindi na kailangan magpa-test basta fully vaccinated and boosted, it can open our doors for economy recovery faster," she explained.

On Friday, Malacañang said fully vaccinated international travelers and returning overseas Filipinos were no longer required to undergo facility-based quarantine, but must test negative for COVID-19 and self-monitor for symptoms. 

The Philippines has also suspended its green, yellow, and red COVID-19 risk classifications for countries, territories and jurisdictions. 

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreigners arriving in the Philippines, meanwhile, will be banned from entering the country on Feb. 16, according to the government.