Ex-NTF adviser questions new quarantine rules for int’l travelers

Published January 29, 2022, 11:55 AM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

Questions were raised after the national government announced that fully vaccinated international travelers and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) will no longer be required to undergo a facility-based quarantine but shall self-monitor for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) symptoms beginning Feb. 1.


Health reform advocate and former National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 medical adviser Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon, in an interview over DZMM TeleRadyo on Saturday, Jan. 29., said that it is not yet the right time to relax and loosen the country’s COVID-19 protocols.

“Pwede ba yun? Ganun ba kabilis tayo mag decide na hindi muna [tayo nag consult] sa mga medical communities para at least manlang makakuha ka ng mas maraming opinyon (Is that possible? Is it that quick for us to decide not to consult with the medical communities first so that you can at least get more opinions),” Leachon stated.

Meanwhile, the health reform advocate said that it is best to implement the said protocol in mid-February.

“Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, for a major policy, siguro mga mid-February – dalawang linggo [bago] isagawa para sa ganon ay mai-anunsyo mo naman sa mga tao at tiyaka [maisaayos ang] mga loose ends na hindi klaro (If you ask me, for a major policy, maybe mid-February – give it at least two weeks before implementing it, so that you can announce it to the people and definitely fix the loose ends that are not clear) ,” Leachon added.

He likewise stressed the fact that safety is a two-way process, reiterating that it is unsafe to relax protocols during an ongoing surge.

“Pinoprotektahan din natin ‘yung mga dadating and removing some of the medical safeguards may actually cause a surge eventually (We are also protecting those who are arriving and removing some of the medical safeguards may actually cause a surge eventually),” Leachon reiterated.

Beginning Feb. 1, fully vaccinated inbound travelers will no longer be required to undergo a mandatory facility-based quarantine, Malacañang said on Friday, Jan 28.

Instead, fully vaccinated inbound travelers will be required to present a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result taken 48 hours prior to the departure from the country of origin and they will be required to self-monitor for any signs and symptoms of COVID-19.