The Department of Health (DOH) sees no reason to impose additional restrictions on incoming travelers from China.
DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a media briefing Friday, said that based on science and evidence, there is no reason for additional measures.
She added that transmission of new Omicron subvariants is happening not only in China but in other parts of the world.
“We need to see the whole situation and not just focus our thinking and decisions on China. We know the interactions between and among the different populations across the globe that’s happening,” Vergeire said.
On the last day of 2022, the DOH released a department memorandum to all implementing units to heighten surveillance on incoming passengers with a specific mention of travelers from China.
Vergeire explained that the memo was to reiterate the increasing number of cases in China, the reason for the heightened surveillance for all incoming travelers.
Based on existing protocols, an incoming traveler’s temperature is screened while vaccination details are sought through a health declaration via e-arrival cards. Should a passenger be unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated, an antigen test taken 24 hours prior departure will be asked.
“If they don’t have that, we have booths at the airport where you can be tested on the spot. If you test positive, of course you will be subject to isolation based on our current protocols and you also will be subjected to a repeat RT-PCR for internal purposes for us to do genome sequencing,” Vergeire said.
Meanwhile, the DOH identified 89 close contacts of 8 Filipino travelers from China who tested positive for COVID-19.
Vergeire said the passengers are being monitored by health authorities and various local government units.
Of the 89 close contacts, only one exhibited suspected COVID-19 symptoms, she added. The passenger has been tested and is undergoing isolation.
On the first flight, Vergeire said 19 close contacts were identified, including 18 are foreigners and a Filipino. Seventeen of them are fully vaccinated, one is partially vaccinated and another is unvaccinated. Willie Casas (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
On the second flight, 16 foreigners and 7 Filipinos were identified as close contacts by the DOH. All of the passengers are fully vaccinated.
On the third flight, the health agency has identified 27 fully vaccinated Filipinos as close contacts. Twenty-six were asymptomatic while one had symptom, Vergeire said.
On the fourth flight, 12 foreigners and eight Filipinos were considered as close contacts.
The Filipino travelers from China, who were all unvaccinated, arrived in Manila from Dec. 27, 2022 to Jan. 2, 2023.
They tested positive for COVID-19 through antigen screening. The results were later confirmed positive through RT-PCR testing.