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Cebu never informed the Department of Health about its stance on unvaccinated travelers: Vergeire

Cebu’s provincial government failed to contact the Department of Health (DOH) before implementing a new policy that allows unvaccinated foreign visitors to enter the country, in violation of national policy that only allows completely jabbed leisure travelers to enter.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, will cooperate with the province to discuss the problem on Friday.

“Hindi po na-konsulta ang DOH hinggil dito sa panukala or protocol ng Cebu province regarding arriving tourists like foreign nationals,” she remarked in a press conference.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) na ating sinusunod na kailangan pong sundin ng local governments mayroong protocol. IATF po pag-uusapan lahat ito upang mabigyan ng kaliwanagan at DILG, of course, would cooperate with Cebu (The IATF has protocols that every local government must follow.) We’ll talk about it at the IATF, and DILG will, of course, collaborate with Cebu), “she continued.

Vergeire advised local government entities that the pandemic task force’s recommendations must be adopted nationwide.

“Iyon pong mga binabalangkas na mga panukala at protocols ng IATF, ito ay isang mandato sa bawat isa sa LGUs natin na sumunod dahil kailangan’yong protocols natin ay ipatutupad (The policies that the IATF issues mandate all LGUs to follow because these protocols must be implemented) ?”

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu approved an executive order on February 9 permitting unvaccinated business and leisure travelers to enter the province starting March 1.

The tourists must only provide a negative RT-PCR test result obtained 48 hours prior to departure from their home country, be swabbed upon arrival, and undergo facility-based quarantine until their second RT-PCR result is obtained on the fifth day, according to the directive.

On February 10, the national government issued IATF Resolution 160-B allowing international tourists to enter the country, but only if they are completely vaccinated.

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