The Department of Tourism (DOT) has supported the call of President Duterte for a shorter quarantine period for arriving travelers who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said cutting down the current 14 days to 10-day quarantine period requirement is a “crucial step towards the eventual resumption of international travel once our borders reopen, leading to the recovery of the pandemic-hit sector.”
The DOT has been pushing for a shorter quarantine period for travelers arriving in the Philipines since May, thus the setting up of green lane circuits with countries that have zero to low COVID-19 transmission.
“This is a welcome development that brings us closer to safely reopening our country to international travelers. Tourism had been a major driver of the Philippine economy until the pandemic shut down the global travel industry in 2020,” Puyat said.
President Duterte earlier asked the government’s pandemic task force to shorten the quarantine rule for arriving travelers to only seven days, citing costs associated with quarantine accommodations at hotels.
Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases said guidelines are now being finalized to allow fully vaccinated travelers to undergo quarantine for only five to seven days.
Based on the current IATF rules, fully vaccinated inbound travelers that stayed exclusively in jurisdictions or countries classified under the “green list” for 14 days immediately prior to arrival in the Philippines qualify for seven-day facility-based quarantine.
While those coming from “yellow risk” jurisdictions, whether fully vaccinated or not, must undergo a ten-day facility-based quarantine and four-day home quarantine.
The tourism chief also noted the importance of a reduced quarantine period especially for arriving overseas Filipino workers this holiday season and to also lessen their financial burden while in isolation.
“This move to ease quarantine restrictions is also important to our kababayans who have been longing to be reunited with their families as the holiday season approaches. We also recognize the financial burden of isolating in hotels for a long period of time,” she said.
Puyat likewise reiterated that strict implementation of the minimum health and safety protocols such as wearing face masks and observing physical distancing must remain in place.
“Again, we must emphasize that reopening our tourist destinations should not be at the expense of the health and safety of everyone concerned,” she added.