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Concepcion eyes shorter quarantine for fully vaxxed North America travelers

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
Concepcion eyes shorter quarantine for fully vaxxed North America travelers
“With the Christmas season fast approaching, it’s now high time for the government to consider shorter quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers from other countries, especially North America,” Concepcion said in a statement yesterday.
AFP / Yaksin Akgul

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion is pushing for a shorter quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers from North America to encourage them to celebrate Christmas with their family and relatives in the Philippines.

“With the Christmas season fast approaching, it’s now high time for the government to consider shorter quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers from other countries, especially North America,” Concepcion said in a statement yesterday.

He said the government should look into the proposal now so travelers can make travel plans to the country.

“The aviation industry is on the brink of collapse. If we don’t help the airline industry now, we might face a huge problem on how to travel in the future,” the Go Negosyo founder added.

Airlines have called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to consider placing North America as part of the list of green countries as this is one of their biggest markets.

During the recent meeting attended by Concepcion, airline officials and Department of Health (DOH) and IATF adviser Dr. Edsel Salvaña, Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it earned $1 billion from the North America market prior to the pandemic.

In that same meeting, airlines pushed for a five-day quarantine period for fully vaccinated passengers for international flights, with travelers getting tested before the flight.

PAL, through its president and chief operating officer Gilbert Santa Maria and Dexter Lee who serves as senior vice president and chief strategy and planning officer, proposed a new protocol on international flights where passengers will be tested 72 hours before the flight, undergo quarantine upon arrival, and take a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test on the third day.

Passengers with a negative test result will be allowed to go out of the quarantine facility on the fifth day and complete their quarantine at home.

Based on data presented, getting tested prior to the flight reduces the positivity rate and risk.

PAL said the proposal would also allow passengers to save as much as P25,000.

Concepcion said letting vaccinated people travel will help not just the transport sector, but the tourism industry as well.

“By allowing more mobility to the vaccinated, many people who are relying on tourism for their livelihood can earn enough money for their everyday needs,” he said.

Concepcion has been pushing for the implementation of the “bakuna bubble” where vaccinated people would have more mobility to help spur economic activity and protect jobs.

The vaccine bubble proposal is backed by over 1,000 business owners and franchisees that have called on the government to consider providing incentives to fully vaccinated people including easing restrictions.

COVID-19 VACCINE
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