The Inter-Agency Task Force will implement a stricter testing protocol for travelers arriving from jurisdictions with confirmed cases of new, more transmissible COVID-19 variants, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced on Friday.
The official, who also serves as the spokesperson of the COVID-19 task force, said the mandatory completion of the 14-day facility-based quarantine for arrivals will be replaced with testing the passengers upon arrival then another test during their fifth day of quarantine. If their second RT-PCR test yields a negative result, they can be sent home. It was not immediately clear how long quarantine would be for those whose second swab test comes out positive.
“From the strict observation of an absolute fourteen (14) day facility-based quarantine period for Filipino citizens coming from areas where travel restrictions are in place, the IATF amended this to prescribed testing and quarantine protocols… For passengers coming from, or transiting through, countries where travel restrictions are in place due to new COVID-19 variants, these incoming passengers shall be tested upon arrival and shall be quarantined until the result of the subsequent test administered on the fifth day is released,” he said in a statement.
The coronavirus infection’s incubation period is five to 14 days. This means coronavirus symptoms could appear within five days to two weeks after a person has been exposed to the virus.
The IATF previously required passengers to take a swab test upon arrival then they are allowed to go home after completing their two-week quarantine at the New Clark City.
The Department of Health recommended for inbound passengers — regardless of country of origin — to undergo the second round of swab test five days into their quarantine.
The government is imposing travel restrictions on foreigners coming from 35 countries and territory with confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants until Jan. 31.