NTF urged: Fast-track standard quarantine protocols for returning OFWs

NTF urged: Fast-track standard quarantine protocols for returning OFWs
Photo shows Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport. The building’s most notable feature is the arched roof, which was inspired by the waves surrounding Mactan Island.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker on Sunday pushed for the fast-tracking of standard quarantine protocols for vaccinated Filipinos, to benefit not just returning overseas Filipino workers but also our economy.

In a statement, Sen. Panfilo Lacson "threw his full support" behind the National Task Force Against COVID-19's move to draw up standard quarantine protocols for Filipinos vaccinated here and abroad but highlighted that economic recovery cannot afford to wait.

"Please make it sooner, not later. Mind the economy for a change," the senator tweeted.

This was in response to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr's earlier pronouncements that the national task force is mulling protocols where overseas Filipino workers will have the same quarantine control procedures as those vaccinated here in the Philippines once an OFW is verified to be vaccinated.

To recall, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said that a technical working group was now formulating uniform quarantine procedures for OFWs vaccinated abroad or domestically.

“They will follow the same quarantine procedure of seven days [quarantine] and we are looking at some sort of testing. These are all being studied and considered,” Galvez is quoted as saying in reports. 

“We want the policy for the vaccinated individuals to be fair and consistent. Because we have to remember that even vaccinated people can still get infected especially now that we have new variants."

RELATED: IATF urged: Find 'middle ground' for returning OFWs

In early June, the national government announced it shortened the quarantine period for inbound travelers who are fully vaccinated in the Philippines to seven days from 14 initially.

This comes after the former police chief earlier batted for a vaccine passport system that will make traveling to the Philippines easier for vaccinated people, especially for returning overseas Filipino workers and foreign investors.

He urged the government's coronavirus task force to fine-tune the protocols that will address these problems and make sure the protocols are in sync with those of other countries.

Lacson also threw his support behind the Department of Health's recommendation to scrap the COVID-19 testing requirement for inbound Filipinos who were fully vaccinated abroad, though this is still under study.

"This is one sensible adjustment that our 'kababayans' abroad who miss their families here have been wanting to hear from DOH," he said.





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