Philippines revises rules for ‘green lanes’

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2021   •   1139

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has revised the rules for “green lanes,” which covers fully vaccinated travelers that could enjoy a shorter quarantine period upon arriving in the Philippines, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential and IATF spokesperson Harry Roque said the revised rules for “green lanes” will apply to fully vaccinated international arriving passengers to the Philippines beginning July 26, 2021, 12:01 A.M. Manila time.

“International arriving passengers to the Philippines, regardless of point of entry, need only to undergo a 7-day facility-based quarantine and RT-PCR testing on the 5th day, with the day of arrival of being the first day,” Roque said in a statement.

However, the Palace officials stressed that these passengers must meet all the following conditions:

  • Their port of origin is a Green List country/jurisdiction/territory
  • They stayed exclusively in Green List countries/jurisdictions/territories in the last 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines
  • They are fully vaccinated, whether in the Philippines or abroad
  • Their vaccination status can be independently verified/confirmed by Philippine authorities as valid and authentic upon arrival in the country

For those qualified for the Green Lanes, Roque said the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility for 7 days.

“Even if the RT-PCR test yields a negative result, the individual shall still complete the 7-day facility-based quarantine,” he said.

“If the RT-PCR test is, however, positive, prescribed isolation protocols must be followed,” he added.

Upon completion of such quarantine, Roque said that the BOQ shall issue a Quarantine Certificate, which indicates the individual’s vaccination status. The individual is thereafter enjoined to do self-monitoring for the next 7 days

On the other hand, passengers bound for the Philippines who meet the following conditions shall not be qualified for the Green Lanes:

  • Their port of origin is not a Green List country/jurisdiction/territory
  • They stayed outside a Green List country/jurisdiction/territory at any time in the last 14 days before their arrival in the Philippines
  • They have not been fully vaccinated
  • Even if fully vaccinated, their vaccination status cannot be independently verified/confirmed by Philippine authorities as valid or authentic upon their arrival in the country

Roque said these travelers are required to undergo a 10-day facility-based quarantine and a 4-day home quarantine, including an RT-PCR test on the 7th day if any of the following conditions are present.

Meanwhile, all passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through a non-Green List country/jurisdiction/territory “shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to the said country/jurisdiction/territory if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by immigration authorities.”

The IATF classified Green List countries/jurisdictions/territories as low-risk countries/jurisdictions/territories, upon the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH based their classification on the following metrics:

  • For populations greater than 100,000, the incidence rate (cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population) shall be less than 50;
  • For populations less than 100,000, the COVID-19 case counts (cumulative new cases over the past 28 days) shall be less than 50, as prescribed by its Technical Advisory Group

Roque also said that the IATF has approved the documents for purposes of verification/confirmation of vaccination status.

For overseas Filipino workers and their spouses, parent/s, or children traveling with them, they must present a Certification from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in the country of origin.

For Filipinos and foreigners fully vaccinated in the Philippines, they must show either their local government unit hospital-issued Vaccination Cards (in original or hard copy form) or LGU-issued Vaccine Certificate, provided these can be verified/confirmed by border control authorities, or BOQ-issued International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis.

For Filipinos and foreigners fully vaccinated abroad, they must present the vaccination certificate issued by health authorities of their place of vaccination, provided that such certificate can be independently verified/confirmed by Philippine authorities as valid or authentic.

IATF amends guidelines in NCR alert level 4 restrictions

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (AITF-MEID) has amended the guidelines for the implementation of the Alert Level 4 in the National Capital Region (NCR), Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the revised guidelines will take effect on October 1 should the pilot implementation of the alert level system be extended next month.

The new strategy is being imposed in virus hotspots in the NCR until September 30.

The amendments recently approved by the IATF include allowing individual outdoor exercises within general area of residence for persons not required to remain in their respective homes.

Authorities earlier allowed outdoor exercises for residents regardless of health and vaccination status, but they shall only be limited to moving within their village or barangay.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of COVID-19 deceased shall be allowed.

Attendance to these services, however, will only be limited to immediate family members, the IATF said.

All contact sports, whether indoor or outdoor, will remain prohibited. Those being conducted under a “bubble-type” setup are exempted.

Personal care establishments and home services are still not allowed. These services include aesthetic and cosmetic services or procedures, make up services, spas, reflexology, wellness, and holistic services and other similar procedures.

Positive COVID-19 antigen test results now included in case count – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The number of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 through rapid antigen tests will now be included in the Philippines’ case count, Malacañang said Friday.

In a televised briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) reached the decision during their meeting on Thursday in an aim to improve the reporting of COVID-19 cases.

“’Yan po ang ating objective para mas maging mabuti yung picture natin kung ilan ang total cases natin,” Roque said.

He, however, clarified that these tests will be subjected to confirmatory tests.

The use of antigen test is mostly effective for people who already manifested symptoms within the first five days of their onset as the viral load of the patient is at the highest during this time.

In line with this, the IATF directed the Department of Health NCR Center for Health Development to monitor and facilitate registration of facilities using rapid antigen kits.

They must also ensure that antigen line tests are collected and consolidated from health facilities, localities, as well as temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

“Kaugnay nito, ang Department of Health NCR Center for Health Development ay inatasang mag-facilitate ng registration ng facilities na gumagamit ng rapid antigen kits,” he said.

“Augmentation of disease surveillance surveillance staff and encoders are considered to ensure that line lists are generated and submitted on a daily basis,” he added.

As of Sept. 23, the Philippines has 165,780 active COVID-19 cases based on DOH data.

COVID-19 vaccines administered in PH now at 43 million – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has so far administered a total of 43,088,582 COVID-19 doses since the vaccination program was rolled out in March, Malacañang said Friday.

During a televised briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that 23,416,857 people in the country have received their first shot while 19,671,725  are already fully vaccinated.

Roque said this is 25.50 percent of the country’s target population to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Philippine government is looking to inoculate up to 90 percent of the country’s population to achieve protection against coronavirus infections.

Roque also reported that in the National Capital Region, a total of 15,175,704 doses have been administered.

The figure is 69.93 percent of the total vaccination target in the capital region.

Of these vaccine jabs, 8,339,430 were given as first dose while 6,836,274 were administered as second doses, he added.

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