DOT backs shorter quarantine for fully vaccinated OFWs, balikbayans

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2021 10:31 AM | Updated as of May 25 2021 10:49 AM

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MANILA - The Department of Tourism will meet with agencies on its proposal to shorten the quarantine period of returning Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Tuesday.

Overseas Filipino workers and balikbayans are currently required to stay in quarantine facilities for 10 days where they will be swabbed on the 7th day from arrival. They are also required to observe 4 more days of home quarantine.

The DOT has proposed to the inter-agency task force to shorten this for fully vaccinated travelers, said Puyat. She noted that in Thailand, quarantine for this group is limited to only 7 days.

"We’re still proposing that, at least shorter quarantine days to encourage them to come home," she told ANC's Headstart.

"We’re meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, with Department of Health, Department of Foreign Affairs, and other government agencies, including the health experts, because we now have more and more studies about fully vaccinated individuals," she said.

In its proposal, the DOT has not delimited its scope any brand of COVID-19 vaccine, but this may also be discussed during Wednesday's meeting, she said. 

One important topic to be discussed with the DFA is the verification system for proof of travelers' vaccination, said Puyat. The DOT is also talking with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regarding this, she said.

"Kung yung RT-PCR nga kasi napepeke, baka ito naman yung next na ipepeke para makapasok sa isang lugar," she said.

(If the RT-PCR can be faked, this might be the next one to be counterfeited to enter a place.)

The DOT will also have to discuss this with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Philippine National Police for guidelines for local travels, she said.

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