DOH eyes additional COVID-19 tests for inbound travelers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 21) — The Department of Health has recommended to update the country's testing protocols to ensure the detection of coronavirus infections.

Health Department spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire on Thursday said they proposed for inbound passengers regardless of country of origin to be tested upon arrival then undergo another swab test five days into their quarantine to ensure they are negative for COVID-19 before they are cleared to go home.

"Our agreement with the technical working group of IATF, we will be revising our protocol where we will be testing when they get to their place of destination, especially for international travelers. And they get to be tested again after five days," she told CNN Philippines.

COVID-19's incubation period is five to 14 days. This means coronavirus symptoms could appear within five days to two weeks after a person has been exposed to the virus.

Current testing protocols require passengers to undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival at the airport. They will be housed in a government-accredited hotel or facility while awaiting results. If negative, they are allowed to go home, but they should ideally complete their 14-day quarantine.

Vergeire said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will discuss the proposal today. When asked about the funding for the repeat RT-PCR tests, she replied, "Hopefully we will have the resources for this."

Three co-passengers and the girlfriend of the Filipino infected with the more transmissible COVID-19 variant tested negative upon arrival in Manila, but later showed positive swab test results.