Gov't shortens quarantine for inbound travelers fully vaccinated in PH

The Philippine government shortened by a week the required quarantine period for fully-vaccinated persons who got their jabs in the Philippines and who are returning from abroad.

This change in policy was announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday, June 4.

"All inbound fully vaccinated individuals shall be required to undergo a seven-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival," said Roque.

This is shorter than the 14-day mandatory quarantine required of arriving travelers in general. Currently, only Filipinos returning abroad and a few types of foreigners are allowed to enter the country.

In the arrival protocols that covered all arriving persons, they must quarantine in a facility for 10 days and do a four-day quarantine in their homes or destinations.

Fully-vaccinated persons who got inoculated in the Philippines will just need to do seven-day quarantine in an accredited facility. There is no more home quarantine after.

The shorter quarantine period does not apply to Filipino nationals who got vaccinated abroad. It also does not apply to foreigners who got vaccinated in a country outside the Philippines.

Requirements

A person is considered fully vaccinated if it has been "two or more weeks" since they received their second dose in a two-dose vaccine or after receiving the dose of a single-dose vaccine, said Roque.

They should present their vaccination card upon arrival. Roque said the card "must be verified prior to departure" but did not state what verification process is entailed.

The card must then be presented to a Bureau of Quarantine representative for "re-verification." These representatives can be found at the Department of Transportation's One-Stop Shop in ports in the Philippines.

If the person develops COVID-19 symptoms during their quarantine period, they will undergo an RT-PCR test. After the seven-day quarantine, the BOQ is supposed to issue a Quarantine Certificate attesting to the individual's quarantine status.

More changes expected

The government is likely to announce other changes to rules for fully-vaccinated persons who wish to enter the Philippines.

According to Roque, a group of government agencies including the Department of Health, Department of Foreign Affairs, and National Economic and Development Authority, will provide recommendations "to further relax testing and quarantine protocols for certain classes of travelers."

The new rules for persons vaccinated in the Philippines comes a day after Senate President Vicente Sotto III urged the government to waive quarantine for fully-vaccinated persons.

He, however, was also referring to foreigners, like potential investors, who are fully-vaccinated and could be discouraged from doing business in the country because of quarantine restrictions. ā€“ Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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