IATF relaxes rules for inbound travelers vaccinated in PH

A4 JABS. A health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a person under the A4 priority group at the Mega Tent 1 of the Mandaluyong City Hall on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. The A4 group includes economic front-liners and uniformed personnel. | PNA photo by Joey O. Razon

INBOUND travelers fully vaccinated in the Philippines will undergo a shorter quarantine period, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday, June 4, said that the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the guidelines on inbound international travel to any port of the Philippines of all fully vaccinated individuals who have been inoculated in the Philippines.

“An individual shall be considered as having been fully vaccinated two or more weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series, or two or more weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine,” explained Roque.

Vaccines administered to individuals in the Philippines should be included in either the country’s Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization list or through Compassionate Special Permit.

Roque added that fully vaccinated individuals must carry their vaccination cards “which must be verified prior to departure, and must be presented to a Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation (DOTr) One-Stop Shop upon arrival in the Philippines.”

Under the new guidelines, the fully vaccinated individuals who want to enter the Philippines will undergo a seven-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival.

“RT-PCR test shall only be done when the individual manifests COVID-19 symptoms within the seven-day quarantine,” Roque said.
For its part, the BOQ will conduct strict monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms during the quarantine period.

“After completing the seven-day facility-based quarantine, the BOQ shall issue a Quarantine Certificate indicating the individual’s vaccination status,” the spokesman added.

However, Roque stressed that the new guidelines don’t apply to fully vaccinated individuals who were inoculated abroad.

“Wala pa (There is no new) protocol for them,” he told Palace reporters through a text message.

Returning Filipinos and foreign nationals who have been fully vaccinated abroad will continue to undergo a 10-day facility-based isolation and take a swab test on the seventh day.

The IATF also ordered the National Economic and Development Authority as well as the departments of Health, Finance, Trade, and Foreign Affairs to provide recommendations to further relax testing and quarantine protocols for certain classes of travelers.

In May, the Department of Tourism proposed setting up a “green lane” that will facilitate the entry of foreign travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The green lane will pave the way for the reopening of our tourist destinations to leisure travelers who are now fully vaccinated. It will give the jobs back to many of our tourism workers and gradually revive the tourism industry under safe conditions,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on May 21.

“We must keep pace with our neighbors and the rest of the world in slowly reopening our tourist destinations. We must be ready for the visitors when the whole world is ready to safely travel again,” she added.

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