Home quarantine still allowed if rules are observed, DOH says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 13) — The Department of Health on Monday said it is not shelving the option for COVID-19 patients showing mild flu-like symptoms to complete their quarantine in the comfort of their homes, as long as they strictly observe quarantine guidelines.

Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire clarified that patients who are asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms can opt to complete their quarantine at home instead of staying in the government's temporary treatment and monitoring facilities where they can be closely isolated and treated.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, previously said the national government is "discouraging" home quarantine to cut the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus in the same household. He was quoted in a radio interview on Sunday that all COVID-19 patients, including asymptomatic patients, will be asked to stay in temporary treatment and monitoring facilities managed by the government.

DOH reminded patients who will choose to stay at home to observe quarantine rules, such as having a room and bathroom that isn't shared with other members of the household. They also need to be constantly monitored by barangay health officials.

"Hindi naman sa dini-discourage ang home quarantine, pero ang sinasabi ko may kondisyon. Kung hindi rin naman makaka-comply with 'yan, hindi na dapat mag-home quarantine, doon na lang tayo sa temporary treatment and monitoring facility," Vergeire said in a media forum.

[Translation: There are rules for home quarantine. If you cannot comply, then it isn't for you.]

National COVID-19 task force chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. cited the situation of Cebu City, which is now one of the COVID-19 hotspots in the country. He said the movement of patients cannot be closely monitored with home quarantine.

"Nakita natin sa Cebu, more than 1900 yung hinome quarantine nila. Ang nakita nating disadvantage ng home quarantine, hindi natin mapigilan na yung positive ay makipagkwentuhan sa kanilang mga pamilya, at sa kanilang kamag-anak, yung ibang bumibisita," he said in a separate briefing. 

The Philippines on Sunday recorded a total of 56,259 new COVID-19 cases. There are 38,679 active cases in the country, with 92.2 percent of patients exhibiting mild flu-like symptoms and 7.1 percent not showing any signs.