IATF approves changes in quarantine protocols

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 1) – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved on Sunday two changes in quarantine protocols for COVID-19 cases.

In its latest Resolution No. 130-D, the IATF shortened the detection to isolation interval to less than five days.

Health Department Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire previously said it currently takes 6.3 days to detect and isolate COVID-19 cases on the national level and 7.11 days in Metro Manila.

The procedures covered in this quarantine protocol amendment are the conduct of active case finding in all areas, tracing of close contacts of suspect, probable, and confirmed cases within 24 hours of detection of a case, immediate quarantine and testing of cases and close contacts, and RT-PCR testing to those who turned negative on rapid antigen testing.

Also included are identification of areas with case increases or clustering by the local government units (LGU) and regional epidemiological surveillance units and their immediate submission of samples for sequencing, ensuring workplaces and establishments conduct daily health and exposure screening, reporting identified case and close contacts to the LGU and coordinating for investigation and response, and considering incentives in workplaces to encourage reporting and adherence to isolation measures.

The other change in quarantine protocol approved by IATF is giving priority to facility-based isolation and quarantine. The move is to prevent household transmission of the coronavirus.

The IATF also ordered to make "readily available and accessible health care capacities and systems in preparation for case spikes" and ramping up vaccination of the A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) populations "if resources are adequate."

The latest IATF resolution also eased back Cebu Province to general community quarantine "with heightened restrictions" and reclassified the provinces of Aklan, Apayao, and Laguna to modified enhanced community quarantine.