DOH eyes no more swab tests for fully vaccinated inbound travelers


Posted at Jun 18 2021 02:18 PM

DOH eyes no more swab tests for fully vaccinated inbound travelers 1
Passengers wearing hazmat suits for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines, Jan. 14, 2021. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters/File

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it is planning to recommend the removal of mandatory swab testing for inbound travelers who have been vaccinated abroad.

Under the current policy, those who have been vaccinated in the Philippines are required to undergo a 10-day quarantine, while those jabbed overseas have to get swabbed a week after staying in isolation.

"Ganiyan din po ang ating irerekomenda sa mga Pilipinong nag-vaccine abroad pero hindi pa po natin yan nafa-finalize," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.

(That is what we will also recommend for Filipinos who have been vaccinated abroad, but we have yet to finalize that.)

"Unti-unti po ang pagluwag para sa mga fully vaccinated until we reach that coverage na magiging safe na ang ating mga kababayan kahit hindi na natin sila tine-test," she said.

(We will gradually ease the protocol for fully vaccinated individuals until we reach the coverage that will ensure that our countrymen are safe even if they do not undergo COVID-19 testing.)

The Philippines' COVID-19 policy-making panel earlier said it would shorten the mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers to 7 days starting on June 16, but later on pushed back the date to June 22, 2021.

This is "in consideration of the full rollout of the process of validation of vaccination certificates," Malacañang said.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Norgrales earlier said the Philippines needs to finalize what documents would be needed to verify if a person has been fully vaccinated abroad.

"Wala tayong problema pag dating sa science... Ang concern lang po natin kung 'yung nagsasabi na bakunado na sila from abroad ay totoong bakunado," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We don't have problems when it comes to the science. Our concern is how do we tell if a person from abroad has been vaccinated.)

"Nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa bansang Amerika, sa ibang bansa at maging sa WHO ano ba 'yung evidence at proof at kung puwede ay may iisa na lang na digital na card," he said.

(We are coordinating with the US, other countries and the WHO about the evidence and proof of vaccination, and if possible, if they could just issue one digital card.)

As of June 16, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 2 million people, while 5.5 million others have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.


Video from the Department of Health