At least 10 percent of returning Filipinos arriving daily have tested positive for COVID-19, the Bureau of Quarantine said on Saturday.
BOQ deputy director Roberto Salvador Jr. said some 300 of the 3,000 inbound Filipino passengers arriving daily last week were infected.
“Just last Monday, we released some 3,300 people who finished their isolation in their facilities, which was why hotel capacities have eased,” Salvador said.
Based on the new guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), arriving Filipino passengers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 but still test positive in the required pre-departure test will be allowed entry from abroad, provided they meet certain conditions
All inbound Filipinos who test positive will be required to present the following to enter the country: a positive RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from country or port of origin; a medical certificate issued by a licensed physician stating that the passenger has completed the mandatory isolation period and is no longer contagious, and positive RT-PCR test taken not earlier than 10 days but not later than 30 days before departure.
Inbound Filipino travelers will need to go to a quarantine facility, but the duration of their stay depends on their vaccination status and the COVID-19 risk classification of the territory where they were from.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health is currently studying a proposal to ease quarantine protocols for international visitors, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Saturday.
“We are now studying this together with our experts on what would be the appropriate recommendation for this,” Vergeire said.
“If in case this gets recommended, rest assured that we will be prepared because we already have the four-door policy. Our first door would be our border control so there are other safeguards or layers of protection that we can count on if we remove this,” she added.
The Four-Door Strategy is a national government-enabled and local government-led response, first implemented during the Delta variant wave.
The policy consists of border control; active surveillance, including test and trace; early isolation and treatment of all those who tested positive; and COVID-19 Vaccination Program.
Earlier, the government lifted the ban on the entry of foreigners from “Red list” countries, provided that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and subject to additional protocols.
Starting February 16, 2022, proof of full vaccination shall be made a requirement for entry of all foreign nationals allowed to enter the Philippines.
Travelers from “Red List” countries who were fully vaccinated would be required to do the following: present a negative RT-PCR test 48 hours prior to departure; undergo a facility-based quarantine and be subjected to an RT-PCR COVID-19 test on the seventh day; and complete the rest of the 14-day quarantine at home if they tested negative in the RT-PCR test.