Omicron could lead to tighter restrictions for travelers: gov


Posted at Dec 03 2021 11:50 AM

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MANILA – Local government units may impose stricter measures in their areas amid the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the head of the League of Provinces of the Philippines said Friday.

Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco said LGUs have the power to impose “reasonable regulations” to protect their constituents from COVID-19.

“So the LGUs have the power to impose reasonable regulations, especially on the entry of people to their territories,” he said in an interview on ANC's Rundown. 

“We issue executive orders to impose additional safeguards so with respect to foreign travelers, there would be some more safeguards, like possibly they’ll be required to undergo the RT-PCR testing, and that they be subjected to medical assessment or examination upon arrival in the territory of the particular LGU." 

“We also prescribe that they be confined to their hotels or lodging places when they are in the LGU. Sometimes we closely monitor also their activities and we tell them that if they experience symptoms. Then they are required to report the same to our doctors.”

Velasco said these restrictions may be imposed on top of the testing and quarantine guidelines for arriving international passengers released by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Against COVID-19 Thursday.

The IATF requires that fully vaccinated individuals 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, the IATF said.

“Considering that they have undergone the quarantine here in the place where they landed, so we may not put them under quarantine anymore,” Velasco said. “But they’ll be subjected also to medical examination upon arrival, and we will just monitor their activities inside our territory.”

The Philippines has put about 14 countries in its “Red list” in an attempt to control the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant in the country.

Little is still known about the said variant, but scientists fear that it could dodge immune defenses and spread more readily than earlier strains.

--ANC, 3 December 2021