CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has questioned an order issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases that mandates international travelers that have already been vaccinated against Covid-19 to still undergo quarantine upon arriving in the country.
In her virtual presser on Monday, June 7, 2021, Garcia said IATF’s Resolution No. 119 will only give additional inconvenience to Cebuanos from foreign countries upon their return home and even to foreign tourists.
“Let us still presume that the arriving OFWs are Philippine vaccinated so they will now be allowed only seven days. They will now allow the seven day quarantine, but the testing will only happen on the seventh day. So are they saying now that after they are tested regardless of whether or not the results have come out attesting that they were negative or positive, they may go home?” Garcia said.
“Things are getting weirder and weirder. In fact, I cannot believe that these kinds of policies were in fact the product of careful analysis, actual on ground experience and logic and common sense,” she added.
In his regular press briefer on June 4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that Resolution No. 119 mandates Filipinos who have been inoculated in the country to undergo a seven-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
The order does not cover foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and even Filipinos who have been vaccinated abroad as they will be required to undergo a 10-day facility-based quarantine.
IATF Resolution 119 states that the arriving passenger must take an RT-PCR test “only when Covid-19 symptoms manifest within the duration of the seven-day facility-based quarantine.”
The arriving passenger must also have been inoculated with a vaccine that was included in the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) list or was issued a Compassionate Special Permit (CSP) by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Meanwhile, Department of Health (DOH) 7 officials urged fully vaccinated individuals bound for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to present their vaccination card and certificate.
Regardless of where they got vaccinated abroad or locally, passengers are still required to undergo an RT – PCR test too, said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson.
During a DOH 7 presser on Monday, June 7, 2021, Loreche said individuals are considered to be “fully vaccinated” once they have completely received the two doses of Covid-19 vaccine (except those who were inoculated with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, which only has one dose).
Loreche reiterated that there is still a possibility for fully vaccinated individuals to test positive for Covid-19. In case this happens, they will have to undergo a neutralizing antibody rapid test and a five-day quarantine.
Neutralizing Antibody Rapid Test, as defined by abingdonhealth.com, is a type of test that detects Sars-CoV-2 IgG antibodies from a small finger prick of blood.
Furthermore, this type of test is used to monitor or detect prior Covid-19 infection, confirm if an individual has produced an immune response following the infection, and monitor antibody vaccine response.
Although the national government has not released any guidelines regarding this type of test, Loreche said they are doing this to screen people without curtailing movement. (RBR, ANV / JKV)