Gov’t imposes addt’l testing requirement for exempted inbound travelers

Published January 22, 2021, 1:47 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

An additional testing requirement will be implemented for inbound travelers exempted from the travel restrictions on countries affected by the new coronavirus variants.


The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has ruled that inbound passengers must be tested upon arrival in the country and undergo another test five days into their quarantine.

Those who test negative from the two tests will be allowed to go home and serve the remainder of their 14-day quarantine.

Previously, the IATF mandated incoming travelers to undergo quarantine at a facility for 14 days regardless of the test results upon arrival in the country.

The travelers can choose from the government-accredited hotels and other quarantine facilities. 

In the latest Resolution No. 95, the IATF has amended the testing and quarantine protocols for passengers coming from or transiting through countries with travel curbs due to the new COVID-19 variants.

“Incoming passengers shall be tested upon arrival and shall be quarantined until the result of a subsequent test administered on the fifth day is released,” the IATF said.

“After which, said persons who yield a negative result from both COVID-19 tests shall be endorsed to their local government units of destination who shall then strictly monitor the remainder of the fourteen-day quarantine through their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams,” it added.

Health authorities earlier reported that it takes approximately five to 14 days for people to start showing the symptoms of the coronavirus.

A 14-day quarantine for people who could be infectious has been adopted by many nations to avoid the spread of infection to others.

The Philippines has prohibited the entry of foreign travelers from several countries with reported cases of the new COVID variant until Jan. 31.

Exempted from the travel ban are Filipinos, foreign diplomats, personnel of accredited international groups such as the World Health Organization and United Nations, foreign dignitaries, and those with medical and emergency cases, but they all must undergo testing and quarantine procedures.

In the latest resolution, the IATF has amended an earlier order regarding the exemption of certain travelers from the restrictions on COVID-affected countries. 

The task force has ruled that those foreign nationals exempted from travel curbs must have “valid visas” to enter the country.

The spouse and minor children of Filipino citizens traveling with them are also now allowed to enter the Philippines subject to the same testing and quarantine protocols.

“Those for medical and emergency cases, including their medical escorts, if any, subject to the applicable testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed by the Department of Health,” the IATF said.

Filipinos arriving for highly exceptional and/or medical reasons, and local diplomats shall likewise undergo quarantine protocols set by the DoH.