Philippines eases testing, quarantine COVID-19 protocols for inbound travelers
Malacañang has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to ease testing and quarantine protocols for inbound travelers to the Philippines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on October 28, the Palace approved IATF Resolution 2 subject to strict observance of other minimum health protocols and compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
Under IATF Resolution 2, the pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated inbound travelers, whether Filipinos or foreign nationals, will no longer be required.
Filipinos and foreign travelers shall be deemed fully vaccinated if he or she had received the second dose of a two-dose series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine more than 14 days prior to the date and time of departure from the country of origin or port of embarkation.
A fully vaccinated individual should also possess and present any of the following proofs of vaccination: World Health Organization International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis, VaxCertPH, national or state manual/digital certificate of the country/foreign government, and other proof of vaccination.
Individuals who are unvaccinated, partly unvaccinated, or whose vaccination status could not be independently validated, must comply with the following:
• Filipinos and foreign nationals 15 years or older shall present a remotely supervised, or a laboratory-based rapid antigen negative result administered and certified by a healthcare professional in a healthcare facility, laboratory, clinic, pharmacy or other similar establishment taken within 24 hours prior to the date and time of departure from the country of origin/first port of embarkation in a continuous travel to the Philippines, excluding lay-overs; provided that he/she has not left the airport premises or has not been admitted into another country during such lay-over.
• Filipinos and foreign nationals 15 years or older who fail to present negative pre-departure testing with conditions set forth above, shall be required to undergo a laboratory-based rapid antigen negative result administered and certified by a healthcare professional in a healthcare facility, laboratory, clinic, pharmacy or other similar establishment taken upon arrival at the airport.
• Accompanied minors below 15 years of age who are not vaccinated for any reason shall follow the quarantine protocols of their parent/s or an accompanying adult/guardian travelling with them.
• Unaccompanied minors below 15 years of age who have not been vaccinated for any reason shall follow the protocols set forth in Section B (1) and (2) above.
Those who shall test positive through rapid antigen test shall be subjected to the latest prevailing protocols of the Department of Health, the resolution stated.
In the memo, the Palace tasked the Bureau of Quarantine, in coordination with DOH and other agencies, to identify other acceptable proofs of vaccination to avoid confusion and inconvenience on the part of inbound travelers and facilitate dissemination for public information.
Earlier, the Marcos administration also made optional the wearing of face masks indoors and outdoors.
The directive was provided under Executive Order No. 7, marking the first time since March 2020 that the public has had the option to wear face masks or otherwise in indoor settings. —NB, GMA News