Filipino passengers coming from the countries included in the list of the travel ban will have to repeat the Covid-19 swab test after five days they arrived in the country. This is because of the new UK Covid variant commonly known as B-117.
Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) implemented a new protocol, which states that passengers will be handed to the local government units (LGU) after they have confirmed that their tests are negative for a second time.
Health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, “Kapag nag-negative sila doon sa fifth day, that’s the time that they will be sent back to their local governments for the continuation of home quarantine. ”
She added, “So ang critical dito, ‘yung hand-off and proper endorsement to the local governments and local government units to ensure that this 14-day home quarantine will be implemented properly.”
Upon arrival from the airport, passengers will have to take a swab test. Then they are brought to a facility for a 14-day quarantine. This is mandatory regardless if their tests are negative.
The Expenses will be covered by the Government. The new protocol would be implemented once government agencies have issued operational guidelines, Vergeire added.
On the other hand, The Philippine Red Cross disapproves of the test being repeated. Pointing out the fact that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has a significant amount of debt.
Dr. Paulyn Ubial, PRC Biomolecular Laboratory head, said, “The other possibility that can happen is we will charge the OFW and the repatriates online payment or cash payment and they can reimburse with PhilHealth."
However, if PhilHealth could make regular payments, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) would abandon its plan to charge the OFWs.
“We cannot cover or be exposed to utang for that volume of tests. Kasi hindi naman po gobyerno ang Red Cross. We operate our laboratories based on the money that goes into our banks,” she said.