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Palace defends move to drop mandatory quarantine for travelers from 'green' countries

Malacañang on Thursday defended the government's decision to relax the restrictions for inbound travelers from "green" or low-risk countries for COVID-19.

This, after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he was not consulted regarding such decision that was reached during Wednesday's meeting of the government task force.

"Marami kaming wala roon kasi akala namin may Talk to the People sa Davao kaya wala kami sa meeting sa kahapon, but I verified and Dr. Edsel Salvana was there and he said there is minimal risk with green countries kasi napakababa nga ng kaso nila ng COVID-19," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

(Many of us were not there because we were in Davao City for President Rodrigo Duterte's Talk to the People, but Dr. Edsel Salvana was there and he said there is really minimal risk from green countries because they have low cases of COVID-19.)

Salvana is a member of the Technical Advisory Group of the Department of Health.

Under the new policy, inbound travelers from "green" countries
who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to undergo mandatory facility-based quarantine provided they have a negative RT-PCR test result 72 hours before leaving their country of origin.

[READ: List of "green" countries]

Roque said this decision was reached in consultation with doctors.

"Dr. Edsel was there [in the meeting], as well as Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire and Dr. Althea de Guzman of the Health department's Epidemiology Bureau," Roque said.

Roque also said the list of "green" countries is up for review.

"This will be discussed later and I assure you, the green list will be reviewed given that there are not many Filipinos coming home from the existing list of green countries," he said.

"We will meet again to discuss this. Besides, there is no permanent resolution [on this matter]," Roque added. —KBK, GMA News