Palace defends lifting of quarantine for ‘green list’ travelers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — Malacañang on Thursday allayed concerns regarding the lifting of quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated Filipinos coming from “green” countries or territories.

“Effective siya for one day kasi bukas ire-repaso yung list ng green list at tsaka kakaunti lang ang mga Pilipino o kahit sino mang biyaherong galing dito sa mga green list countries,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

[Translation: It’s only effective for a day because we will review the green list tomorrow and only a few Filipinos or travelers come from the green list countries.]

“Ito yung mga lugar na saksakan ng baba kaso ng COVID at wala naman pong risk. Ganun pa naman titignan po natin,” he added.

[Translation: These countries have very low COVID-19 cases and there is no risk. But then we will see.]

This was Malacañang’s response after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III raised concerns regarding the policy, noting that only 30% of the population are fully vaccinated and not all travelers are passing through the National Capital Region.

Duque also pointed out that he was not consulted about the new policy.

But Roque defended that the relaxed policy was consulted with other health authorities during a meeting.

“Nandoon naman po si Dr. Edsel Salvana (of the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group) at siya po ang nag-manifest minimal naman daw po ang risk galing dito sa mga green countries,” he said. “Nandoon din po si Usec. [Rosario] Vergeire at Dr. Alethea [De Guzman] ng Epidemiological Bureau.”

[Translation: Dr. Edsel Salvana was present in the meeting and he was the one who manifested that there is minimal risk in the green countries. Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire and Dr. Alethea De Guzman of the DOH Epidemiological Bureau were also there.]

Effective Oct. 14, fully vaccinated Filipinos can skip the facility-based quarantine provided that they present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival.

They can also opt to take an RT-PCR test in a quarantine facility upon arrival and stay there until the release of the negative result.

However, Roque said the list can still be updated if some countries record high COVID-19 cases.

“Tsaka wala naman pong permanent na resolution tayo," he said. "Kung meron talagang tumaas na mga kaso sa mga bansa sa green list, pwede naman po repasuhin ang polisiya.”

[Translation: There’s no permanent resolution. If there’s a country in the green list which recorded high cases, we can review the policy.]

Among the countries currently included in the green list are New Zealand, Taiwan, and mainland China.