TWO party-list solons appealed to the government to relax quarantine protocols for returning Filipinos who are already fully vaccinated.
In separate statements, ACTS-CIS Rep. Nina Taduran and Ang Probinsiyano Rep. Ronnie Ong said fully-vaccinated Balikbayans should be given exemptions from the mandatory 7-day quarantine.
Taduran believed that the mandatory 7-day quarantine in a government-approved facility would only burden the balikbayan, who has a very low risk of contracting and spreading the virus after being vaccinated against Covid-19.
“Most of the returning Filipinos have a limited time of staying here and are already cash-strapped. All they want is to be with their families for a longer time and spend whatever money they have for pasalubong or other necessities,” Taduran said.
The lady solon appealed to ATF and the Department of Health (DoH) to reconsider this requisite quarantine, especially if the returning Filipino has been fully vaccinated by a WHO-approved Covid 19 vaccine and has no symptoms of the virus upon their return in the country.
A study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that fully vaccinated people, specifically with an mRNA vaccine, are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection and transmit the virus.
Those who have been vaccinated with other types have been proven to lower their risk of severe illness due to Covid 19.
“Some European countries and USA have eased their travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people. Why are we making it difficult for our own countrymen,” she added.
For his part, Ong said this is very helpful to returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWS) and other inbound international Filipino travelers who have already been fully vaccinated.
Likewise, inter-zonal travel restrictions should be also lifted for individuals who have completed their anti-Covid jabs.
Ong added that a properly authenticated proof of vaccination should suffice to ease quarantine protocols for returning OFWs and other Filipinos returning to the Philippines so that they can spend more time with their families and truly enjoy their stay in the country.
Ong said that they can still be required to undergo RT-PCR swab upon arrival and must fully inform authorities of their travel destination.
Aside from easing quarantine requirements, Ong also recommended that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) should also relax restrictions on inter-zonal/ cross-border travel for people who have already completed their anti-Covid vaccines.
He also said that vaccinated individuals should no longer be restricted to enter into cities or municipalities regardless of their existing level of quarantine as long as the visitors continue to observe health and safety protocol including the wearing of masks and face shields.
“We have to start jumpstarting our domestic tourism. Those who have already been vaccinated should be allowed to have unrestricted access to our beautiful local destinations. Aside from providing the momentum to boost our tourism sector, encouraging domestic travel for those who have been vaccinated should encourage more people to take their Covid jabs regardless of the brand. As it is, a lot of people are hesitant to get their jab because they don’t trust the brand,” Ong pointed out.
Aside from easing restrictions for domestic and international travel for vaccinated Filipinos, Ong has also recommended that business establishments such as malls, restaurants, hotels, resorts and other similar places should start accommodating senior citizens who have already been vaccinated.
The IATF should also start allowing dine-in and allow 100 percent capacity on restaurants for customers and guests who have been vaccinated. They can set aside areas that are exclusive for customers who already had their Covid jabs.