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IATF eases rules on inbound travelers inoculated in the Philippines

IATF eases rules on inbound travelers inoculated in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:50 p.m.) — Fully-vaccinated inbound travelers who were inoculated in the Philippines will go through a seven-day facility-based quarantine, the Palace said Friday.

They will only have to take an RT-PCR COVID-19 test if they show symptoms during their quarantine period.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in a statement, said the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved guidelines for inbound international travel to any port of the Philippines of all fully vaccinated individuals who have been inoculated in the Philippines. 

IATF recommendations require approval by President Rodrigo Duterte to become policy but he usually follows the task force's suggestions.

Roque explained that a person is deemed fully vaccinated after at least two weeks since receiving the second dose of vaccine, or two or three weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

According to the IATF Resolution No. 119 the traveler must have received vaccines that are included in either the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorzation list or through Compassionate Special Permit.

The fully-vaccinated traveler must carry their vaccination card, “which will be verified prior to departure, and must be presented to a Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation (DoTr) One-Stop Shop upon arrival,” Roque added.

Under the guidelines, they will go into a seven-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival. The BOQ will conduct strict monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms during this period. 

“RT-PCR test shall only be done when the individual manifests COVID-19 symptoms within the 7-day quarantine,” Roque added.

Quarantine Certificate

After the quarantine, the BOQ shall issue a Quarantine Certificate indicating the individual’s vaccination status. "After this, the passenger will conduct self-monitoring," Roque explained in Friday's Laging Handa briefing.

Meanwhile, the IATF ordered the Departments of Health (DOH), of Finance of the Department of Trade and Industry and of Foreign Affairs, and the National Economic and Development Authority to provide recommendations to further relax testing and quarantine protocols for certain classes of travelers.

The Palace spokesman clarified that the new guidelines do not cover foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers and Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated in foreign countries. “They have to undergo the regular quarantine and testing protocols, which is, to complete a ten-day facility-based quarantine,” he added.

As of Friday, travelers coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates are still banned from entering the country. The travel restriction, issued to prevent the spread of coronavirus variants first detected in India, will be enforced until June 15.

In the same statement, Roque said the IATF also allowed foreign nationals holding Special Resident Retiree’s Visas to enter the Philippines without getting an entry exemption document.

The Bureau of Immigration last May said holders of existing Special Resident and retiree visas must first present an entry exemption document from the DFA upon their arrival in the country. — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from The STAR/Christina Mendez