NAIA imposes additional visual checks on passengers vs. monkeypox

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2022 04:55 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2022 07:25 PM

Filipinos arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport  ABS-CBN News/file
Filipinos arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), January 11, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — As a precaution against monkeypox, passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are being asked to roll up their sleeves for a quick visual inspection by quarantine medical officers. 

This is among the health safety checks implemented by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) at NAIA's gates, following the World Health Organization's (WHO) declaration of monkeypox as a global health emergency.

The additional step is done on top of thermal scanning which detects travelers' body temperatures.

“Pinapataas natin ang jackets hanggang maaari makita natin iyong signs and symptoms. We will have primary screening using the thermal scanner if the medical officer sees that this person needs to be evaluated further we do a secondary screening," NAIA quarantine medical officer Dr. Rhaychelle La Rosa said.

Passengers who register a body temperature higher than 37.5 degrees, and with rashes on hands and arms, are escorted to an exit separate from other passengers. 

The traveler with rashes and high fever will be sent to the BOQ clinic for a second look before bringing them to Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

But BOQ said the additional step of rolling up sleeves might not entirely prevent monkeypox from entering the country, and recommended that additional tests should be conducted.

If a passenger is confirmed to have contracted monkeypox, the BOQ will also reach out to that person's close contacts to see if whether they are showing symptoms, La Rosa said.

Passengers cleared of the thermal scan and visual checks will be advised to proceed to Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) booths, where they will be asked to present a One Health Pass QR code and vaccination card.

The One Health Passcode may be processed 2 days before the flight. 

If the passenger could not complete 2 vaccine shots and a booster, he or she must present a negative RT-PCR result taken 48 hours before the flight or a negative antigen test result taken 24 hours before the flight. 

If the passenger fails to present a negative test result, he or she will undergo quarantine for 5 days.

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