Lopez calls for shorter quarantine policy

Published June 7, 2021, 1:09 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez is pushing for shorter quarantine policy for vaccinated persons, including seniors 65 years old and above, and foreign travelers, who have been discouraged to fly into the Philippines because of the long quarantine period.

At the Commitment Ceremony and Ceremonial Vaccination for A4 at the Mall of Asia, signaling the start of vaccination to all economic frontliners, Lopez said that DTI is studying a short term policy for the vaccinated persons for domestic and foreign travelers, as well.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

Lopez also said that Inter Agency Task Force and the private sector could also discuss to craft a shorter quarantine policy for vaccinated persons.

Based on the DTI proposal, vaccinated foreign travellers in the country maybe required a PCR test and if the result is negative, he will undergo a short quarantine period only.

“That is a big help to investors,” said Lopez, noting that the long quarantine periods being imposed on foreign travellers have discouraged investors to come to the Philippines. He emphasized the need to follow the best quarantine practices in other countries.

At present, foreign travellers are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in the country even if they have negative PCR test results.

Lopez also batted for easier movements, including domestic travels, for vaccinated seniors 65 years old

and above a month after they have completed their vaccination. At present, 65 years old and above are still banned from going out of their residences. An easier movement is also a form of benefit for fully vaccinated persons and will encourage other seniors to get vaccinated.

In the meantime, Lopez said that those vaccinated will just have to use their vaccine card given by their local government units while the Department of Information and Communications Technology is still working out a digital app or card for those fully vaccinated.

“These adjustments in our policy and with the help of the private sector will really go towards the path to recovery,” said Lopez.

Lopez also cited the start of the vaccination for the A4 category or the economic frontliners as the most needed “shot in the arm” otherwise, the government will continue the “one step forward, one step backward” strategy to contain the virus. There are an estimated over 30 million workers in the country.

With the A4 vaccination, Lopez expects the coronavirus cases as well as the severe and death cases to continue to go down towards the path of recovery. “Now we are seeing recovery,” he said.

Meantime, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force chief implementer, also announced at the kick off ceremony for the A4 category vaccination that over 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are arriving this month of June and 15 million doses in August. The government’s supply agreements are also arriving in the third and fourth quarter, he said.

The government has also simplified the definition of A4 as all those who need to go out to work and are willing to be inoculated will be given the needed shots for free.