By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Following revisions by government authorities over prescribed protocols on inbound travelers from countries deemed as ‘high risk’ for Covid-19 or territories classified under the ‘red list’, Senator and PROMDI presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao enjoined inbound travelers from other countries to cooperate and strictly follow the guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) that allows fully vaccinated travelers to present negative swab test results taken 48 hours before their departure and requires them to undergo quarantine upon arrival in the country.
Based on the revised travel protocols, the IATF clarified that travelers, once they have undergone the swab test and quarantine, can be discharged once they get negative test results and provided they stay on home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of his/her arrival.
Meanwhile, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers, or those whose inoculation cannot be validated, have to stay in quarantine and take RT-PCR tests on the seventh day. They can only be discharged after completing a 10-day quarantine, regardless of their test results, and are also required to observe home quarantine until the 14th day.
At present, overseas Filipinos and select foreigners such as diplomats, their dependents, and those with special business or permanent resident visas are the only individuals from ‘red list’ countries who may enter the country. Foreign tourists are still prohibited from entering the Philippines.
The IATF said that Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao, Malta, Puerto Rico, Spain, Aruba, French Guiana, Mayotte, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Iceland, Mozambique, Somalia will remain under the ‘red list’ from 16 to 31 January.
It added that another set of rules applies for inbound travelers from nations under the ‘yellow’ and ‘green’ lists.
For his part, while welcoming the improved developments for allowing inbound travelers from abroad, Pacquiao expressed hope that a similar incident similar to what happened to ‘Poblacion Girl’ would be avoided as any infraction like it could jeopardize further the government’s response to the pandemic which has caused much distress to the whole nation.
“Sana naman maintindihan ng mga nagnanais na umuwi sa bansa o dumalaw dito sa atin na ang ipinapatupad na mga protocol at quarantine ay para sa kapakanan ng lahat upang hindi na kumalat pa ng husto ang Covid-19,” the People’s Champ pointed out.
He appealed to the public and travelers to give a little understanding of the crisis situation because it needs to be addressed and the rapid spread of infections arrested or outright stopped.
“Magkaisa po tayo para hindi na malagay ang bansa sa alanganin dahil lang sa ating kapabayaan at hindi pagsunod sa mga protocol. Huwag natying sayangin ang mga nakamit natin sa mga sakripisyong ginawa para lang mapatigil ang pagkalat ng virus,” Pacquiao concluded.