Private sector hails shortened quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers

Published October 8, 2021, 7:59 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The shortened mandatory quarantine time for fully vaccinated individuals will have benefits that will trickle down to the economy, especially this last quarter of 2021.

Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion (Screenshot from Facebook live)

“I am thankful that the government listened to our repeated calls to relax the guidelines for the fully vaccinated,” Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said in a statement Friday, Oct. 8.

According to the Palace official, the shortened quarantine will encouraged more people to “fly, engage in economic activities and most importantly reunite with families with lesser costs in mind”.

“This is a great Christmas gift for Filipino families. We have lost so much lives this pandemic. Now, our balikbayans can spend time with their families. They can celebrate together with extra money to spend from the hotel quarantine savings,” he added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has just released new testing and quarantine protocols for international arriving passengers. Effective Oct. 8, all fully vaccinated travelers from “green” and “yellow” countries will be tested on the fifth day after arrival and can go home once a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result has been obtained.

They are required to continue their quarantine at home for an additional five days.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated travelers will be tested on the seventh day. If they test negative, they can continue home quarantine as well. However, they need to stay home for an additional seven days, bringing the required days of quarantine to a total of 14 days.

“This is a another win for us and the airline companies like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia who will benefit from this new development. Their industry has been badly hit and this is a way to help them recover,” Concepcion stressed.

It can be recalled that Concepcion along with IATF adviser Dr. Edsel Salvaña recently led a discussion with different airline industry stakeholders. In thw meeting, proposals of scrapping RT-PCR tests for domestic travel and a five-day quarantine period for international travelers were discussed.

Even President Duterte has pushed for a shorter quarantine period for incoming fully vaccinated travelers against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to ease the burden on high expenses at quarantine hotels in one of his public addresses. Duterte wants the current 10 to 14-day quarantine period be trimmed to just seven days.

Recently, several local destinations and government units also announced travel guidelines that favor greater mobility for the fully vaccinated.

“We are also elated to know that some local areas are now allowing fully vaccinated travelers. This can persuade more people to go out of their homes to travel and give a boost to the local economy,” said Concepcion.

“The business sector is hoping that other areas, especially the tourist destinations, would follow suit and relax guidelines for fully vaccinated travelers. This way, they can help boost tourism and ramp up economic activities in different parts of the country,” he added.

Concepcion’s pronouncement came after the Cebu provincial government on Friday announced that travelers won’t be required to submit a negative RT-PRC or antigen test result before their can enter the province.

In a memorandum, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said a medical certificate issued within 24 hours immediately before arrival indicating that a visitor has no symptoms of COVID-19 would be enough to allow them to enter the province.

Negros Occidental has also eased its domestic travel rules by opening its door to fully vaccinated individuals as part of efforts to boost local tourism, which has been severely affected by travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

Starting Nov. 15, the local government of Coron, Palawan will begin accepting fully vaccinated tourists from outside Palawan through the point-to-point (P2P) bubble tourism policy.

Concepcion has been advocating for the implementation of the “Bakuna Bubble”, where health protocols will be relaxed for fully vaccinated individuals so they can have more mobility and can help ramp up economic activity.

More than 1,000 business owners and franchisees have expressed support for Concepcion’s suggestion.