Exempt fully vaccinated returning Pinoys from quarantine

A party-list lawmaker on Tuesday said returning Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) here or abroad should be exempted from the mandatory quarantine when they arrive in the country.

ACT-CIS Rep. Rowena Niña Taduran said the mandatory seven-day quarantine in a government-approved facility would only burden the arriving fully vaccinated Filipinos, who have a very low risk of contracting and spreading the virus.

“Most of the returning Filipinos have a limited time of staying here and are already cash-strapped. All they want is to be with their families for a longer time and spend whatever money they have for pasalubong or other necessities,” Taduran said.

She urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health to reconsider the requisite quarantine, especially if the returning Filipino has been fully vaccinated by a Covid-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization, and has no symptoms of the virus upon their return to the country.

Citing a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Taduran said fully vaccinated people, specifically with an mRNA vaccine, are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection and transmit the virus.

Those who have been vaccinated with other types, she noted, have been proven to lower their risk of severe illness due to Covid-19.

“Some European countries and USA have eased their travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people. Why are we making it difficult for our own countrymen,” she said.

Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong, meanwhile, said a properly authenticated proof of vaccination should be enough to ease quarantine protocols for returning overseas Filipino workers and other returning Filipino travelers.

Ong said they can still be required to undergo the RT-PCR swab test upon arrival and must fully disclose their travel destination to authorities.

“People who have been vaccinated should no longer pose any public health hazard to the general population and should be given some leeway on existing quarantine protocols for inbound OFWs and returning Filipino travelers,” Ong said in a statement.

Ong also proposed to ease cross-border travel for people who have already completed their Covid-19 vaccines to jumpstart domestic tourism.

“Those who have already been vaccinated should be allowed to have unrestricted access to our beautiful local destinations,” Ong said. “Aside from providing the momentum to boost our tourism sector, encouraging domestic travel for those who have been vaccinated should encourage more people to take their Covid jabs regardless of the brand.”

Ong suggested that business establishments such as malls, restaurants, hotels, and resorts should start accommodating senior citizens who have already been vaccinated.

The government, he said, should also start allowing dining in at restaurants and using 100 percent capacity for customers and guests who have been vaccinated.

“We also have to start reinvigorating our domestic tourism because many of our small and poor municipalities are dependent on tourism. We should encourage our vaccinated population to be at forefront of our national effort to rev up our economy,” he said. (PNA)

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