(PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – Fully-vaccinated international travelers from countries with visa-free entry to the Philippines and returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) will no longer be required to quarantine, but must present a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test results, Malacañang said Friday.

In a press briefing, Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the new protocols on the entry, testing and quarantine for fully vaccinated returning overseas Filipinos, regardless of their country of origin, will take effect starting February 1 and February 10 for leisure travelers.

Nograles said these protocols were based on the recommendations of the Task Force on Covid-19 New Variants, as well as the sub-technical working group on data analytics. 

Under the new protocols, they would no longer be required to observe mandatory facility-based quarantine but should self-monitor for any sign or symptom for seven days with the first day being the date of arrival.

They, however, must present a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test result taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

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Nograles said international travelers must present proofs of Covid-19 vaccination, such as the World Health Organization International Certificates of Vaccination and Prophylaxis, VaxCertPH, or national/state digital certificates from foreign governments which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement, unless otherwise permitted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

"[They] shall be required to report to the local government unit of destination upon the manifestation of symptoms, if any," Nograles said.

The Philippines has also temporarily suspended its "green," "yellow," and "red" Covid-19 risk classifications for countries, territories and jurisdiction due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Under Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 159, the unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated shall be required to present a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

They would also undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day.

They will have to undergo home quarantine until the 14th day, with the date of their arrival being the first day.

The LGUs of destination and their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams are tasked with monitoring arriving passengers undergoing home quarantine.

As for children below 12 years of age who can't be vaccinated, they will follow the quarantine protocol applied to the parent or guardian accompanying them. (PNA)