FULLY vaccinated travelers who are close contacts of probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases will now be required to undergo a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days in the Philippines, Malacañang announced Wednesday, August 11.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) decided on Tuesday, August 10 to temporarily suspend the protocol that allowed a shortened quarantine period for fully vaccinated individuals who have direct contact with a person infected with COVID-19, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Fully vaccinated individuals may only undergo a shortened quarantine period if they remained asymptomatic for the whole seven days.
“The decision to temporarily suspend said protocol is part of the continued implementation of proactive measures to slow down the surge in COVID-19 cases and to stop the further spread of the variants,” said Roque.
Following the suspension, the testing and quarantine protocols of fully vaccinated individuals shall comply with the Department of Health (DOH) Department Memorandum No. 2020-0512, which stated that all close contacts of probable and confirmed cases and travelers shall be placed under a 14-day quarantine period.
“Close contacts who remain asymptomatic for at least 14 days from the date of exposure can discontinue their quarantine,” Roque noted.
However, he stressed that if the close contacts develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, they will be isolated as well as admitted and treated in an appropriate facility.
The DOH defined close contacts as having exposure during the two days before and the 14 days after the onset of symptoms of the probable or confirmed case through the following:
- Face-to-face contact within one meter and for at least 15 minutes
- Direct physical contact
- Direct care for a patient without using personal protective equipment
- Other situations as indicated by local risk assessments.
As of this writing, there are a total of 1,688,040 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with 29,374 fatalities and 1,577,267 recoveries.