Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the UAE are urging the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to reconsider scrapping mandatory quarantine for travelers from the Gulf country, citing that the UAE is now the world’s most vaccinated nation and nears to achieving its herd immunity.
On Wednesday, the IATF has approved the policy of not requiring fully vaccinated inbound travelers from ‘green list’ countries from undergoing a facility-based quarantine upon arrival. The UAE is currently under the ‘yellow list’ countries.
It’s mandatory, however, for arriving Filipinos and certain foreign travelers to present negative RT-PCR test results, which should be conducted 3 days before their arrival in the Philippines.
“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,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
“Naka-dalawang uri na kami ng Vaccine dito sa UAE… Apat na turok na kami sa dalawang vaccine… Sinopharm at Pfizer… Yellow list pa rin ang UAE,” a netizen said.
“Sana dinggin nila mga OFW dito sa Dubai, halos lahat tayo kumpleto na bakuna, yung iba ko ngang kakilala, 4 pa turok Sinopharm at Pfizer,”
another netizen echoed.
“Number 1 rank ang UAE sa vaccination… yellow list pa rin tayo? Ano pang qualification and gusto nila?,” another netizen said.
Our World Data showed that UAE has administered 20.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Around 8.43 million were fully vaccinated or about 85.2% of its target population.
UAE’s leading vaccination rates in the world
The UAE remains to be among the leaders in the rollout of global COVID-19 vaccines, according to Dr. Saif Al Dhaheri, official spokesperson for the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA).
The health official highlighted Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking, where the UAE has advanced nine ranks compared to August.
“The UAE has addressed the COVID-19 according to a proactive strategy based on internationally approved indicators and research studies to ensure a phased return to the new normal,” Al Dhaheri stressed.
“We’re today reaping the fruits of these efforts made at the country level when we see this remarkable drop in COVID daily infections,” he added.
Present rule: 5 days quarantine for fully vaxxed travelers from UAE
While the UAE’s inclusion in the Philippines ‘green list’ countries remains to be seen, fully-vaccinated OFWs flying home need to undergo a 5-day mandatory quarantine.
This policy took effect last October 8.
It’s a welcome improvement for OFWs who earlier had to stay for 10-14 days in hotel quarantine facilities upon their arrival in the Philippines.
OFWs who are partially vaccinated, unvaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified or confirmed as valid or authentic by local authorities coming from “green” or “yellow” countries will undergo the original duration of the facility-based quarantine until the release of the RT-PCR taken on the seventh day.
After that, they need to undergo home quarantine until their 14th day.