DOH eyes COVID-19 testing for incoming travelers on 7th, 8th day

Published May 5, 2021, 1:13 PM

by Gabriela Baron

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, May 5, that it would recommend that incoming travelers will be tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) seven or eight days after their arrival in the country.


Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said new evidence showed that the viral load remains high on the seventh or eight day.

“Now we have true evidence to state that the viral load is still high until the seventh or eight day that’s why we are revising again our protocol and we will be presenting to IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) to adopt this kind of implementation,” Vergeire said in an interview with ANC.

“We want to be sure that we get to identify all of these travelers coming in accurately so that we can isolate properly and we can break the chain of transmission,” she noted.

The recommendation, according to Vergeire, is still up for approval by the IATF.

Current protocol mandates that all inbound travelers must take a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test on the fifth day of their quarantine.

“We have seen that there are lapses in this kind of protocol that’s why we are revising so that we can have stricter border control especially now that there are different variants,” Vergeire added.

As of Tuesday, May 4, the Philippines has recorded 1,075 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant, 948 cases of B.1.17 (United Kingdom), 157 cases of the P.3 (Philippines), and two cases of the P.1 (Brazil variant).