Fully vaccinated people will be allowed to travel domestically without undergoing COVID-19 testing as long as they present a vaccination card or a certificate of isolation issued by the Bureau of Quarantine, the government said Sunday.
A valid and duly signed vaccination card or a certificate of quarantine completion showing the holder's vac be sufficient alternatives to any testing requirement, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said, citing a resolution from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
But travelers who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will still need to undergo health and exposure screening upon arrival at
the local government of destination, Roque said.
In other developments:
• The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) to the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, which is believed to be effective against coronavirus variants, including the Delta variant, said the agency’s chief, Director General Eric Domingo
• Senator Francis Tolentino proposed the expansion of the membership of the IATF to include representatives of the Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said provincial governments and the private sector should have a voice in the national government's highest policy-making body dealing with the pandemic.
The Philippines logged 5,966 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 1,436,369, as one laboratory was not able to submit its data on time, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
There were 86 new fatalities, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 25,149.
The DOH also reported 6,987 patients recently recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 1,358,512.
There were 52,708 active cases, of which 91.1 percent were mild, 3.8 percent were asymptomatic, 1.4 percent were critical, 2.1 percent were severe, and 1.54 percent were moderate.
Nationwide, 57 percent of ICU beds, 46 percent of isolation beds, 44 percent of ward beds, and 34 percent of ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 46 percent of ICU beds, 38 percent of isolation beds, 33 percent of ward beds, and 29 percent of ventilators, were in use.
Meanwhile, the OCTA Research Group said a 5-percent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) in the last week of June is not a cause for concern.
"We're not concerned about spikes in cases. We hope this will decline next week,” said Guido David of the OCTA group, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.
“That's why it's very important to do contact racing and testing in place, because these are our tools during the pandemic, so we can control these small spikes,” David said.
David also reminded people who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine not to be complacent because their level of protection is still low.
“We who have received the vaccine should still take care and follow guidelines so we won't cause another surge, because those who only had one dose, as well as the unvaccinated people can still be infected,” he said.
David said, however, there could be a rise in COVID-19 cases in areas affected by Taal Volcano's eruption because of mass evacuations.
The number of COVID-19 cases in areas of concern such as Iloilo City, Davao City, and Bacolod City are "slowing down", but not yet decreasing, David said.
Baguio City has also seen an increase in its hospitalization rate, currently at 70 percent, David added.
The country will achieve a "low-risk" classification according to the
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when its average daily attack rate (ADAR) is at 1, David said.
The country's current attack rate, or the proportion of the population infected by COVID-19, is at 5, he noted.
“If we have less than 1 ADR, we're very secure and we've controlled the pandemic. This should happen even if we don't have many restrictions, once we reach 50 percent population protection,” David said.
A total of 2,727,442 individuals in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as the government administered a total of 11,016,198 coronavirus jabs.
The country aims to inoculate at least 58 million this year.