IATF releases testing, quarantine protocols in response to Omicron threat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2021 11:33 PM

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Thursday released the testing and quarantine guidelines for arriving international passengers in all ports of entry in the Philippines coming from countries not included on the "red list."

In a statement, acting Presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the protocols approved Thursday will take effect on Friday, December 3.

"For fully vaccinated individuals, they shall be required to have a negative RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day, with the date of arrival being the first day. Regardless of a negative result, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival," Nograles said.

Those who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required a negative RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. 

Nograles said arriving travelers will have to undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day. 

"Regardless of a negative result, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival," he said.

The guidelines are part of efforts to block the entry of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant in the country.

The Department of Transportation has already been ordered to to ensure that airlines board only passengers who comply with the negative RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement.

Minors traveling with their parents, meanwhile, shall follow the testing and quarantine protocol of the parent/guardian with them, regardless of their vaccination status and country of origin.

International passengers who have already arrived and are currently undergoing quarantine, they shall continue with the testing and quarantine protocols in place at the time of their arrival.

Red list countries

Filipinos from red list countries who were allowed entry via government-initiated or non-government repatriations, and Bayanihan Flights shall only be allowed to deplane via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or Clark International Airport, said Nograles.

The Department of Transportation is directed to ensure the compliance of airlines with this directive. Upon arrival, the individual shall comply with the testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed under IATF Resolution No. 149-A (s.2021).

Meanwhile, the IATF amended the metrics for determining alert level classifications of provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities. 

The amendments include: 

  1. The removal of the One-Week Growth Rate as a metric for escalation from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2
  2. The escalation of areas under Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 if either case classification or total COVID-19 bed utilization increases to moderate risk or higher
  3. The escalation of areas under Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 if both case classification and total COVID-19 bed utilization are at moderate risk, or if case classification is at high to critical risk.

Applying the new metrics, Apayao shall be classified under Alert Level 2 from December 3, 2021 until December 15, 2021.

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