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DOT wants to cut quarantine of fully vaccinated travelers

By Tanya Lara Published Oct 05, 2021 4:12 pm

The Department of Tourism wants to cut the quarantine period of fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the Philippines.

While foreign travelers are still not allowed to enter the country, Filipinos arriving from travel abroad must undergo a 14-day quarantine in a government-approved facility.

Thailand, on the other hand, has shortened the quarantine period of foreign travelers to seven days starting Oct. 1.

In a news release on Oct. 4, the DOT said it backs the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to shorten this quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers. “This is a crucial step towards the eventual resumption of international travel once our borders reopen, leading to the recovery of the pandemic-hit sector,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said. 

She continued that the department has been pushing for this move since May 2021, thus setting up green lane circuits with countries that have zero to low COVID-19 transmission. 

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) mandates fully vaccinated inbound travelers that stayed exclusively in jurisdictions or countries classified under the “green list” for 14 days immediately prior to arrival in the Philippines qualify for seven-day facility-based quarantine. On the other hand, those coming from “yellow risk” jurisdictions, whether fully vaccinated or not, must undergo a ten-day facility-based quarantine and four-day home quarantine. 

According to the IATF’s last updated lists on Sept. 15, Green countries are American Samoa, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Chad, China, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Gabon, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China), Hungary, Madagascar, Mali, Federated States of Micronesia, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niger, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Poland, Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands), Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Taiwan, Algeria, Bhutan, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niue, North Korea, Saint Helena, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Syria, Tajikstan, Tanzania, Tokelau, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Yemen.

All other countries not on the list are considered Yellow. On the Red list are Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Slovenia.

Puyat added, “We also recognize the financial burden of isolating in hotels for a long period of time.”

Puyat also reiterated that the strict implementation of the minimum health and safety protocols, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing measures, must remain in place. 

“Reopening our tourist destinations should not be at the expense of the health and safety of everyone concerned,” she said.