Gatchalian joins other senators calling for zero quarantine for fully vaccinated individuals

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 15) — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian joined the call of his colleagues in the Senate to remove the mandatory quarantine for Filipino and foreign travelers who are fully vaccinated, saying it would help boost the country's economy.

"Other countries are reaching herd immunity. In order to stimulate our local economy, especially tourism, we should ease up restrictions on tourists — both Filipino tourists and foreign tourists," Gatchalian told CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday.

"At the most, we can implement (RT-PCR) tests but the quarantine, I think we can already do away with that because they are fully vaccinated anyway," he added.

Last week, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, as well as Senators Sonny Angara, Ramon Revilla, Joel Villanueva, and Juan Miguel Zubiri, recommended the nationwide implementation of the "swab upon arrival" policy of Cebu province.

In separate statements, most of the senators previously said that adopting the policy would be a practical step, especially for returning OFWs who want to spend more time with their families.

Cebu had been conducting tests on returning nationals immediately upon their arrival. Returning residents of the province are allowed to go home and continue their quarantine after a negative RT-PCR test result, under the supervision of barangay health workers.

However, the current national policy mandates a 14-day quarantine for OFWs and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) upon arrival, where the first ten days must be spent in an accredited quarantine facility. An RT-PCR test must also be conducted on the seventh day from arrival.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Cebu provincial authorities to adhere to the protocols for returning Filipinos.

READ: Duterte orders Cebu to follow IATF protocols on testing inbound travelers 

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist and spokesperson of the Department of Health in Central Visayas, said in an interview in another news channel that they are only implementing a "double safety" measure among returning Filipinos to curb the spread of COVID-19.

CNN Philippines Cebu Correspondent Dale Israel contributed to this report.