PH gov’t OKs priority vaccination of delegates for Tokyo Olympics, SEA Games

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2021   •   590

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will prioritize the COVID-19 vaccination of Filipino athletes and other delegates participating in the Tokyo Olympics and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the Technical Working Group’s recommendation to the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (iNITAG) to allow the early vaccination of athletes, coaches, delegates and officials who will represent the country in the two major sporting events.

Roque said the IATF approved the latest policy during a meeting on Thursday.

The Palace official also announced that the IATF likewise approved the conduct of a bubble-type training of athletes participating the said events “subject to the applicable guidelines of the Philippine Sports Commission, the Games and Amusement Board and the Department of Health.”

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is set be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The SEA Games, on the other hand, is scheduled to run from November 21 to December 2 in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the request of the Philippine Swimming Incorporated to host the 2021 Swimming National Selection Meet under a bubble-type format at the New Clark City Aquatics Center, Capas, Tarlac has also been approved by the IATF, Roque said.

“In this connection, the delegates of the National Selection Meet shall be considered as Authorized Persons Outside of Residence and shall be allowed interzonal travel,” he added.

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.

 

PH gov’t simplifies rules for COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has simplified the requirements for COVID-19 vaccination to encourage more Filipinos to get inoculated amid rising cases of coronavirus infections.

In a press briefing, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said walk-ins are now allowed at vaccination sites.

 “Hindi na rin po kailangan bilang health screening ang pag-monitor sa blood pressure, unless ang babakunahan ay may history ng hypertension o may sintomas ng hypertension at iba pang konsiderasyon na nakabase sa clinical judgement ng doktor sa vaccination site,” he said.

“Hindi na rin kayo hihingan ng medical clearance at certification para mabakunahan,” he added.

Nograles said medical clearance and certification will only be required for individuals with auto-immune disease, HIV, cancer/malignancy, patients undergoing steroid treatment, and patients with poor prognosis or bedridden.

“May mga bakuna, mas maluwag na po ang requirements para dito, kaya ‘wag na po tayong magdalawang-isip, magpabakuna na po tayo,” Nograles said, addressing the public.

“Luluwag ang ating mga ospital at dadami ang mga bakanteng kama kung marami ang protektado sa malubhang sakit dala ng COVID-19. Let’s help our frontliners and let’s help ourselves by getting vaccinated,” he added.

The Philippines is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 37, 207 infections recorded on Friday, January 14. This is the highest ever single-day tally of cases in the country since the pandemic started in 2020.

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