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Philippine authorities look into reports that traveler skipped quarantine protocols

Philippine officials are now looking into reports of an individual supposedly skipping quarantine protocols, as authorities reiterated that violators will face criminal and administrative penalties moving forward.

According to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, the tourism department is now in coordination with concerned authorities to validate reports claiming that an individual was allowed to leave a quarantine hotel before finishing the prescribed quarantine period.

“The hotel in question is currently being investigated and has been served a Notice to Explain (NTE), directing the establishment to submit its response to the allegation within three days,” she said in a statement posted on her official Facebook account.

Puyat also noted that failure to comply with health and safety protocols as ordered by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) could lead to criminal and administrative penalties.

Criminal penalties could include fines and/or imprisonment, while administrative penalties include the suspension or revocation of accreditation, depending on the gravity of the offense.

Puyat’s statement was released after reports that a certain prominent individual paid their way out of completing the necessary quarantine days in a hotel in Makati.

For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) called on the public to report individuals, establishments, or local government units violating quarantine protocols.

“[W]e remind everyone to exert utmost care in participating in gatherings and/or organizing gatherings particularly when it will involve individuals who have recent travel or exposure history,” it said in a separate statement.

“We also ask LGUs to strictly implement current guidelines,” it added, noting that violators will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

At present, quarantine protocols depend on the country of origin of the international travelers whether they be green, yellow, and red countries.

In a separate statement, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said an individual supposedly skipped quarantine protocols to attend parties of friends who later tested positive for COVID-19.

“This is irresponsible, illegal, and unforgivable. Dozens are now sick with some hospitalized due to the quick spread of the virus which could possibly be Omicron,” he said.

Zubiri called on the Departments of Health, Tourism, and the Interior and Local Government to look deeper into the matter and ensure that violators are properly penalized.

“This blatant disregard for health protocols should not be tolerated and should be punished regardless of who they may be. Let us all be vigilant as I’m worried that the highly transmissible Omicron variant has gotten in to our communities due to these stupid irresponsible individuals,” he said.

The Philippines on Wednesday, December 29, recorded 899 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,839,790. This includes 10,418 active cases; 2,778,131 recoveries; and 51,214 deaths.—AOL, GMA News