PH approves shorter quarantine for travelers vaccinated abroad

Published June 29, 2021, 12:57 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Starting July 1, travelers vaccinated abroad who stayed in “green” or low coronavirus risk countries will be required to undergo shorter quarantine protocols upon arrival in the country.

A resident of Parañaque City gets vaccinated against COVID-19 on May 18, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/MANILA BULLETIN)

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) approved the new guidelines for the inbound passengers vaccinated abroad, that include requiring the presentation of vaccine certificates, following a meeting early this week.

Under IATF Resolution No. 123-C, passengers vaccinated abroad staying in “green” countries will be required to undergo a seven-day quarantine at a facility upon arrival in the Philippines, instead of the standard 10-day facility-based quarantine and four days in their place of destination.

The seven-day quarantine protocol is the same requirement imposed by the government for returning international passengers vaccinated in the Philippines.

The Bureau of Quarantine has been directed to ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility quarantine for seven days. The individual is also enjoined to monitor themselves for the next seven days for any symptoms

“All arriving individuals qualified for a 7-day facility-based quarantine shall undergo RT-PCR testing on the 5th day of facility-based quarantine with day one being the date of arrival,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said. He noted that the fifth-day testing requirement shall be subject to review after 30 days from implementation.

If the passenger tests negative, the person must still complete the seven-day quarantine at a facility. If found positive, the passenger must follow the prescribed isolation protocols.

Green countries or jurisdictions are those classified by the Department of Health as low risk countries based on the disease incidence rate, according to Roque.

The IATF stated that a person is considered fully vaccinated against coronavirus two weeks after having received the second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after receiving a single-dose type of vaccine. The coronavirus jabs must have an emergency use authorization or compassionate special permit from the country’s Food and Drug Administration.

The government task force likewise required incoming vaccinated passengers to present document to prove vaccination status.

For those vaccinated in the country, Roque said they must carry their vaccination card, that must be verified prior to their departure by a certification of vaccination record portal of the Department of Information and Communications Technology or the city health officer of the local government that issued the full vaccination.

Travelers vaccinated outside the Philippines, on the other hand, must have official documentation of full vaccination validated through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), or present their international certificate of vaccination.

Such documents must be presented to the Bureau of Quarantine representative for re-verification by the transport authorities upon arrival in the Philippines.

“All arriving fully vaccinated individuals not covered by the foregoing shall comply with the testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed under the pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended,” the IATF resolution read.