SENATOR Richard J. Gordon, reacting to Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia’s swab upon arrival policy specifically overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and returning overseas Filipinos, is urging the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to reconsider the current protocols, which require a 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
This refers to Executive Order No. 17 and Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-04 of the Province of Cebu.
Gordon lauded Governor Garcia and other Cebu local officials in coming out with their initiative, cognizant of the Filipino culture of family visits. He agrees that such a long quarantine is financially and psychologically burdensome to our OFW’s and returning residents.
“Closer is better,’ said Gordon, referring to the ability of local governments to better protect their people, especially island provinces like Cebu. Thus, he suggests some review of policies to shorten the mandatory quarantine to seven days upon arrival.
However, Gordon does not recommend swab upon arrival as this is not recommended by health experts and not aligned with the national policy. A seven-day quarantine should be enough where an RT-PCR test will be taken after this period.
If found negative, they can just complete the 14-day quarantine at home. Conversely, those found positive will undergo the standard protocols of isolation and/or treatment.
In a broader sense, Gordon suggests a gradual opening of bubble tourism sites to open the economy with proper protocols in place. Many other businesses should be allowed to open up hand-in-hand with aggressive vaccination.
He also welcomed the easing of protocols for incoming passengers who have completed their vaccination in the Philippines that does away with a swab test upon arrival.
Gordon even suggested to adopt the same policy for tourists and foreign visitors who have been fully vaccinated in their countries of origin, provided the vaccination can be verified officially in the country where it was administered.
Gordon prefers this gradual opening up but with strict safety protocols to be observed and he favors imposing hefty fines on those who flaunt with health protocols. (PR)