Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he will raise before the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) his concerns over the move to allow fully vaccinated inbound travelers from “green list” countries to skip the mandatory facility-based quarantine.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Duque said while some countries are implementing a similar policy, their vaccination rate is currently at 70 percent, higher than the Philippines’ 30 percent.
“I was told that in some countries they are doing this now but those countries can afford to do it because their national vaccination coverage is at 70 percent, whereas we are only at 30 percent and not all travelers are passing through NCR (National Capital Region), some travelers are going to Davao, to Cebu, to other airports,” Duque said.
“So that is a cause of concern. I am going to raise this later once the IATF reconvenes for this week,” he added.
Duque, who chairs the IATF, said he was not present during the task force meeting where the decision to ease the quarantine rules for overseas Filipinos and foreigners was made.
“Now that apparently the IATF went through the process and they approved this, then what we can do now is just to strictly monitor this change in border control policy, because if I recall, even the President said he wanted to just reduce the quarantine period but not to get rid or do away with the quarantine period,” Duque said.
THE IATF DECISION
The IATF decision will be effective starting October 14, Thursday. Arriving Filipinos must test negative in RT-PCR test 3 days before their arrival in the Philippines.
In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Philippines will also no longer require fully-vaccinated foreigners from doing facility-based or hotel quarantine if they test negative for the virus via RT-PCR.
“For fully vaccinated Filipinos, they can choose facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken in the quarantine facility upon arrival, or no facility-based quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day,” Roque said in a statement.
“For fully vaccinated foreign nationals, a negative RT-PCR test shall be required to be taken within 72 hours prior to the departure from the country of origin. Upon arrival, no facility-based quarantine will be required but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day,” he added.
For unvaccinated travelers, they are required to do facility-based quarantine and to be tested on the 5th day for the virus.
“For the unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified, and those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day. In the case of foreign nationals, they shall be required to secure hotel reservations for at least 6 days,” Roque said.
The government will be checking one of the following certifications to validate the vaccination status:
– VaxCertPH digital vaccination certificate
– Bureau of Quarantine / World Health Organization-issued International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICV)
– The national digital certificate of the foreign government where they were vaccinated (such as Al Hosn for the UAE)
One of the documents above will suffice to check and validate the vaccination status of OFWs and their spouse, parent/s, and/or children traveling with them vaccinated in the Philippines or abroad, non-OFWs vaccinated in the country or abroad, and foreigners vaccinated in the Philippines.
For foreigner nationals vaccinated abroad, the government will check: WHO-issued ICV, or the national digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement.