June 15, 2021

Gordon advises returning OFWs to follow certain arrival procedures

Senator Richard Gordon on Monday officially recommended a set of rules for fully vaccinated returning OFWs, Philippine residents, foreign tourists, and foreign businessmen, following his recommendation for the Covid-19 task force to reconsider the current protocols for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and returning overseas Filipinos.

Gordon proposed in a letter to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the National Task Force Against Covid-19’s chief implementer, that “all incoming OFWs and returning Philippine residents who have been fully vaccinated abroad or in the Philippines, meaning whose arrival is 14 days or more after receiving the second dose of a vaccine that has been properly documented/certified, be sent direct.”

He explained that the passenger would only be allowed to interact with other people in their household and community after a negative test had been obtained, and that strict adherence to safety protocols, such as wearing face masks, frequent hand washing, and social distancing, would be required both during and after the quarantine period.

Putting OFWs on a 14-day quarantine, according to Gordon, would “drain their resources and take away from the time they expect to spend with their families, from whom they have already been separated for years.”

In the letter, he wrote, “I ask you to consider the aforementioned advice in order to assist ease the financial and emotional impact to our people during these challenging times.”

Gordon proposed that once fully vaccinated foreign tourists and businessmen are allowed to enter the country, they must submit a negative RT-PCR test result 48 hours before their flight and then undergo five days of hotel quarantine upon arrival, seeing the tourism industry’s potential in helping the economy recover from the pandemic.

They must be tested for Covid-19 on the third or fifth day of their isolation, and if the findings are negative, they may be discharged immediately.

Gordon pointed out that the proposal is still stricter than what is currently in place in other countries, such as the United States, where fully vaccinated air travelers are required to have a negative SARS-CoV-2 viral test result or documentation of recovery from Covid-19 before boarding a flight to the US, while international travelers are only advised to get a SARS-CoV-2 viral test three days prior to flying to the US.

In addition, fully vaccinated travelers are not obliged to perform self-quarantine in the United States after returning from an overseas trip.

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