DOH wants COVID-19 testing for inbound travelers on 7th or 8th day of quarantine

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, May 5, that it would recommend to the government coronavirus task force that inbound travelers in the country be tested for COVID-19 on the seventh or eighth day of their quarantine.

In a press briefing on Wednesday morning, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that this was based on evidence that there's a high percentage that an individual who might have COVID-19 would turn positive on those days.

"The viral load is high on the seventh or eighth day. For us to have accurate test results and we could isolate those who are sick immediately, we're recommending this now," Vergeire said, adding that this still needs approval from the government coronavirus task force.

Currently, inbound travelers are tested on their fifth day in quarantine upon arrival in the country.

This recommendation comes after the Philippines has tightened its borders anew due to a record-breaking surge in infections, which is partly driven by the more infectious variants of COVID-19.

To date, the Philippines has cases of the highly infectious B117 (first found in South Africa), B1351 (first found in United Kingdom), P1 (first found in Brazil), and the local variant called P3, which is still under investigation.

The DOH also said that the "double mutant" variant called B1617, which was first found in India and believed to be driving the surge there, has not been detected in the Philippines yet. –

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.