Phl suspends shorter quarantine rule for fully-vaccinated close contacts of Covid cases

The Philippines has temporarily suspended the shortened quarantine protocol for fully-vaccinated individuals who had “exposure” to Covid-19 patients, Malacañang announced Wednesday.

It means that the fully-vaccinated persons who were deemed “close contacts” of probable and confirmed carriers of coronavirus would observe a 14-day quarantine period — instead of seven days, which was previously set by the national government.

“The decision to temporarily suspend the said protocol is part of the continued implementation of proactive measures to slow down the surge in Covid-19 cases and to stop the further spread of the variants,” Palace spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said.

The Department of Health defines “close contacts” as individuals who had exposure to probable or confirmed virus carriers two days before and 14 days after the onset of their Covid-19 symptoms.

The “exposure” may take place through face-to-face contact with the Covid-19 patient within one meter for at least 15 minutes.

A person may also be exposed to a virus carrier through direct physical contact, direct care for the patient without personal protective equipment, or other situations as indicated by local risk assessments.

Close contacts who remained asymptomatic for at least 14 days from the dates of their exposure to virus carriers may discontinue their quarantine, Roque said.

However, if they developed Covid-19 symptoms or if they tested positive for coronavirus, they would be isolated or admitted in a government facility for treatment.

The new protocol came amid the threat of the highly-contagious Covid-19 Delta variant, which was blamed for the deadly surges across the Asia-Pacific region. The policy was stated in Resolution No. 132, which was ratified by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on Tuesday.

The Philippines has so far confirmed 450 cases of the Delta variant, which has also been detected in all 16 cities in Metro Manila, including the sole municipality of Pateros.

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