IATF OKs COVID-19 testing on 7th day from arrival

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IATF OKs COVID-19 testing on 7th day from arrival
An international airline ground staff wearing protective gear works at the airport in Manila on Aug. 4, 2020.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The inter-agency task force on pandemic response has approved the recommendation that inbound travelers be tested for COVID-19 on the seventh day of their quarantine, the Department of Health said Friday.

Currently, Filipinos and foreign nationals who enter the Philippines are tested for COVID-19 on the fifth day of their quarantine upon arrival in the country. 

“There will be no testing upon arrival. The test will be conducted on the seventh day and [inbound travelers] should complete 10 days of quarantine here at the national level,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in Filipino during a briefing.

After the 10th day, inbound travelers will be endorsed to their respective local governments to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

“This is a process so we can ensure then even though some travelers, especially Filipinos, can enter the country, we can quarantine them properly so we can break the chain of infection,” Vergeire said.

Concerned agencies will formulate protocols for the implementation of the new rule, she added.

The DOH recommended the revision in the protocol, citing the findings that an individual’s viral load is high on the seventh or eighth day.

The government is prohibiting the entry of travelers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka until May 14 to prevent a coronavirus variant first detected in India from reaching the country.

The Philippines is battling a spike in infections that has raised its COVID-19 caseload to more than a million, including nearly 18,000 fatalities.


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