Filipino health workers with existing contracts abroad may leave – IATF

Marje Pelayo   •   April 13, 2020   •   1167

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has decided to allow Filipino healthcare professionals with existing work contracts abroad to leave the country despite restrictions on general travel due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo confirmed that the IATF reconsidered the deployment ban on health workers that was issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) last week.

“Those with existing perfected employment contracts will be able to leave,” Panelo said adding that he also sent a memo to President Rodrigo Duterte recommending the lifting of travel ban on health workers with such employment status.

“The IATF resolution is subject to the approval of the President,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin on Twitter announced the good news.

He clarified, however, that future applications are frozen until further notice provided that all 250,000 nurses exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) ratio of people-to-nurses must be given employment.

READ: DFA not pleased with POEA’s deployment ban on Filipino healthcare workers

4 provinces under COVID-19 Alert Level 4; 15 areas on Alert Level 3 – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has placed Kalinga, Ifugao, Mountain Province, and Northern Samar under COVID-19 Alert Level 4, Malacañang announced.

In a statement released Thursday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the new designation will be effective from January 21 until January 31.

The four provinces were previously under Alert Level 3.

Under IATF guidelines for Alert Level 4, establishments are allowed to operate at 10% indoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals, and 30% outdoor capacity.

Operations of amusement parks, casinos, cinemas, as well as activities like contact sports and face-to-face classes are prohibited.

Meanwhile, the IATF placed the following areas under Alert Level 3:

 Luzon

  • Apayao
  • Puerto Princesa City
  • Masbate

Visayas

  • Siquijor

Mindanao

  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Davao de Oro
  • Davao Oriental
  • North Cotabato
  • Sarangani
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Maguindanao
  • Basilan

Malacañang previously announced that Metro Manila and other areas will be under Alert Level 3 until January 31.

IATF updates isolation, quarantine rules for fully vaccinated aviation personnel

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force has approved the updated isolation and quarantine protocols for aviation personnel infected with COVID-19 and those exposed to positive cases, Malacañang said Friday.

In a press briefing, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that aviation personnel with a mild case of COVID-19 or are asymptomatic will now be required to isolate for five days, provided that they are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot against COVID-19.

Aviation personnel who were close contacts or exposed to confirmed COVID-19 cases but do not manifest symptoms are not required to undergo quarantine, provided that they are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot.

Nograles also said that symptomatic close contacts of those who recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days need not undergo quarantine.

The updated isolation and quarantine protocols for the aviation sector include but not limited to airline personnel, ground handlers, maintenance providers, 3 airport security, air traffic controllers, airport workers and other aviation-related personnel.

“DOTr and its attached agencies shall identify the appropriate accountable group to make decisions for shortening isolation or quarantine based on evidence, similar to Hospital Infection Prevention and Control wherein infectious disease specialists, safety officers, and management deliberate, monitor, and act on all infection-related concerns of the health facility,” Nograles said.

The policy is contained under IATF Resolution No. 157 released by the Palace on Friday.

The resolution also mandates all aircrafts to “ensure appropriate ventilation and all aviation staff should wear appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.”

“DOTr shall monitor and evaluate the implementation of the aviation industry, and copy furnish reports to the DOH Epidemiology Bureau for assessment of COVID-19 cases, clusters, vaccination status, and the like,” it said.

“IATF retains the authority to revoke/modify the privilege provided to the aviation industry for shortened quarantine and isolation,” it added.

Philippines updates protocols for arriving international passengers

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has updated the entry protocols for arriving international passengers, Malacañang announced Friday.

Acting Presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the recommendations of the sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics and the Technical Advisory Group to amend the testing and quarantine protocols for passengers arriving from countries classified as “Green,” “Yellow,” and Red” as provided for under IATF Resolution No. 154-C (s.2021).

Under the updated protocols, fully vaccinated passengers from Green list countries will be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall no longer be required to observe mandatory facility-based quarantine but shall self-monitor for any sign or symptom for 7 days with the first day being the date of arrival

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required of the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • They shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day
  • After which, they are enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms for 14 days, with the first day being the date of arrival

The following areas have been classified as Green or low-risk for COVID-19:

  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • British Virgin Islands
  • China (Mainland)
  • Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Niger
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Taiwan
  • Timor-Leste (East Timor)
  • Uganda

Meanwhile, the protocols for fully vaccinated passengers arriving from Yellow List areas shall be as follows:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released for completion of home quarantine up to the 7th day from the date of arrival

Passengers who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released for completion of home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival

The Philippine government has also allowed Filipino travelers from Red list areas to enter the country, subject to entry, quarantine, and testing protocols as determined by the IATF.

Fully vaccinated passengers from Red territories shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released from facility quarantine, provided the completion of home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival

For individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • They may be discharged only upon the completion of a 10-day facility-based quarantine, regardless of a negative RT-PCR result, and shall observe home quarantine until the 14th day, with the date of arrival being the first day

The following areas are under the Red list or high-risk for COVID-19:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Canada
  • Curacao
  • French Guiana
  • Iceland
  • Malta
  • Mayotte
  • Mozambique
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Spain
  • US Virgin Islands

“Dahil nga po meron na po tayong cases ng Omicron at marami po tayong mga kababayan na nasa Red List countries na gusto nang umuwi at base sa dati nating protocols na kailangan po ng Bayanihan Flights para sila ay makauwi… nagkaroon po ng desisyon ang IATF na itong mga kababayan natin mula sa Red List countries ay payagan na nating umuwi, bumalik dito without the need for Bayanihan Flights,” Nograles said.

The Palace official has clarified that the new policy does not cover international tourists.

The latest country risk classification is effective from January 16 to 31, 2022.

 

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