Quarantine for close contacts back to 14 days, fully vaccinated or not

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s pandemic response task force has temporarily suspended the protocol that allowed a shortened quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers and individuals found to have had close contact with probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

These people are now required to undergo 14-day quarantine, instead of seven days as previously allowed for fully vaccinated individuals.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) adopted the decision on Tuesday as part of the continued implementation of “proactive measures” to slow down the spread of COVID-19 cases, especially the more transmissible coronavirus variants.

Issued on July 2, IATF Resolution No. 124-B allowed fully vaccinated individuals to undergo a shortened seven-day quarantine, provided they remained asymptomatic while in isolation.

DOH recommendation

But under a new resolution, No. 132, dated Aug. 10, the task force, citing the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) and its technical advisory group, removed the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons with regard to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals.

The testing and quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated individuals should again comply with the previous rule set by the DOH in its Nov. 26, 2020, memorandum, which requires all close contacts and travelers to be placed on a 14-day quarantine.

Close contacts who remain asymptomatic for at least 14 days from the date of exposure can discontinue their quarantine. Should they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, they shall be isolated and treated in an appropriate facility.

Close contacts refer to people who were exposed to a person who has been listed as a probable or confirmed case, two days before or within 14 days after the onset of that person’s symptoms.

The exposure may be through a face-to-face encounter within a one-meter distance for at least 15 minutes, direct physical contact, direct care for a COVID-19 patient without using personal protective equipment, or other situations subject to local health assessments.

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