MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday said they are now investigating claims that a female traveler from the United States violated quarantine protocols and attended parties in Makati earlier this month.
In separate statements, the DOH and DOT said they are verifying the report in coordination with concerned agencies.
“The DOT is in touch with the concerned authorities to validate reports regarding an individual who was allowed to leave a quarantine hotel before finishing the prescribed quarantine period,” it said.
“The hotel in question is currently being investigated and has been served a Notice to Explain (NTE), directing the establishment to submit its response to the allegations within three days,” it added.
The DOH said that non-adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and policies constitutes a violation of Republic Act No 11331 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act of 2018.
The law provides fines and imprisonment, as well as administrative penalties such as suspension or revocation of accreditation depending on the gravity of the offense.
“The DOH, the Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Tourism, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Transportation, and the Philippine National Police shall ensure that violators shall be dealt with in accordance with the law,” the agency said.
The DOH also appealed to the public to not become complacent and “deliberately put others in danger” by violating protocols.
“The entire nation worked so hard to keep our cases down. Following minimum public health standards however comfortable at times, our healthcare and frontline workers working overtime to save lives, our LGUs, and the rest of the government carefully crafting policies so that we can balance health and economy – these are just some of the sacrifices we make so we can recover from the pandemic, return to work and safely open up schools and establishments,” it said.
The agency also reminded the public to exercise caution in joining gatherings, particularly when it will involve individuals who have recent travel or exposure history.
“We also ask LGUs to strictly implement current guidelines. Keeping cases low and hospital admissions manageable is a whole-of-society effort,” it said.
“The DOH encourages the public to report individuals, establishments, or LGUs violating quarantine protocols to local authorities to ensure its proper implementation and further prevent transmission of COVID-19,” it added.