DOT welcomes easing of rules on fully vaccinated travelers

Published June 4, 2021, 6:54 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed on Friday night, June 4 the government pandemic task force’s decision to ease rules on certain fully vaccinated travelers.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (Photo from DOT Facebook page)

This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) approved the initial phase of the “green lanes” proposal to facilitate the entry of some fully vaccinated travelers to the country.

IATF-EID Resolution No. 119 provides guidelines for the inbound international travel to any port of the Philippines for all arriving individuals who have been fully vaccinated in the Philippines, reducing these travelers’ mandatory facility-based quarantine period to seven days, from the original requirement of 10 days.

“After this initial phase of the green lane project, we hope that it will eventually extend to individuals fully vaccinated in other countries, especially with respect to countries who will have and will share their database to facilitate vaccine status verification,” Puyat said in a message.

“We are also hopeful that the results of this initial phase will lead to more liberal domestic travel for fully vaccinated individuals,” the tourism chief added.

The DOT has been batting for the adoption of green lanes to give the local tourism industry a better shot at a quick recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) scourge.

Although initially limited to individuals who have been fully vaccinated in the Philippines, Puyat welcomed the move, saying it may pave the way to helping the tourism industry get back on its feet and in further restoring the country’s economy.

According to the resolution, arriving individuals that have been fully vaccinated in the Philippines must carry a vaccination card that is verified prior to departure.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, the card must be presented at the Department of Transportation (DOTr) One Stop Shop (OSS) for re-verification by a designated Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative.

The guidelines further state that reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing will be required only for individuals that will exhibit COVID-19 symptoms within the required seven-day facility-based isolation period, during which strict symptoms monitoring shall be done by BOQ.

Fully vaccinated individuals who will complete the quarantine period without signs of COVID-19 symptoms will no longer be required to undergo RT-PCR testing, and shall receive a Quarantine Certificate from BOQ indicating his/her vaccination status. They are, however, also expected to do self-monitoring of additional seven days immediately after completing the facility-based quarantine.

An individual shall be considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 — and may therefore be granted green lane access — at least two weeks after he/she received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series, or a shot of a single-dose vaccine.