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Vaccinated travelers still need to undergo 14-day quarantine

All travelers who wish to enter the Philippines, including those who have already been inoculated against the coronavirus disease 2019, are required to undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine, Malacañang said yesterday.

“What is the new protocol for anyone who will enter the Philippines? The 14-day quarantine is now mandatory,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an announcement aired over state-run PTV-4.

This developed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved Thursday the new quarantine and health protocols for all inbound travelers, regardless of their vaccination status.

Under the IATF-EID Resolution 114, all arriving travelers are required to stay in a quarantine facility for 10 days.

After 10 days, inbound travelers must observe home quarantine for four days.

“There should be coordination with the local government to ensure that they observe home quarantine in the last four days,” Roque said.

Travelers are also mandated to undertake reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing on their seventh day in the country, according to the resolution.

“Notwithstanding a negative test result, the arriving traveler shall complete the facility-based quarantine period of 10 days,” the resolution said.

The IATF-EID directed the Bureau of Quarantine to ensure “strict” symptom monitoring while inbound travelers are in the facility quarantine for 10 days.

To operationalize the new rules, the Department of Health, the BOQ, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration are tasked to issue advisories for “widest” dissemination regarding current testing and quarantine protocols.

The Department of Tourism is also instructed to lead the establishment of a “One Hotel Command” to address concerns of those undergoing facility-based quarantine.

Under the resolution, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, through the Philippine National Police, is ordered to augment the Philippine Coast Guard in providing security in quarantine facilities.

The DOH is also directed to coordinate with OWWA, DOTr, DOT, BOQ, and the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health to improve current symptom tracking mechanisms and provide additional personnel to process and act on symptom tracking information.

The DOTr is also instructed to make sure that RT-PCR tests will be done at exactly the seventh day and results will be delivered on the ninth day of travelers in the country.

Swabbers should continue the practice of double swabbing on the seventh day, in case necessary for whole genome sequencing, the IATF-EID said in its latest resolution.*PNA

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