DOH wants ‘5th day testing’ as add’l. requirement for Pinoys returning from abroad

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  • DOH is recommending the 5th day testing as additional requirement for returning Pinoys
  • This, after 3 of ‘patient zero’s’ close contacts tested positive for COVID after initially testing negative
  • DOH said that in this way, the testing will be more appropriate

The Department of Health (DOH) is pushing for an additional requirement for Filipinos flying in from outside the country that would need them to undergo COVID test on the fifth day after arrival.

It turned out that some travelers who had contact with the new COVID variant ‘patient zero’ tested negative upon arrival but found out to be positive a few days later.

Image from PNA

“We already have recommended to the technical working group of the IATF na pagdating ng ating kababayan [that when our countrymen arrived] from any country kailangan po ‘yung testing nila [we need them tested] but we have to repeat the testing on the 5th day after they arrive before we release them to the LGUs,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a press briefing on Thursday.

Vergeire said that in this manner, the timing of their testing will be appropriate and they can be more certain if the person is negative or positive.

The DOH earlier revealed that three of the close contacts of the country’s first UK COVID variant patient now tested positive after initially testing negative when they arrived early this month.

The Health official explained some people may test negative for COVID especially when the virus is still in the incubation period which is between five and six days, up to a maximum of 14 days.

Imahe mula sa PNA

But with the ‘5th day’ requirement and the strict 14-day quarantine period, travelers can now safely return to their communities without fear of being infected with COVID-19.

“Hopefully, the principals of IATF will approve. Hopefully also, we will have resources for this,” Vergeire added.

As of Thursday, a total of 14 close contacts of ‘patient zero’ have tested positive for COVID including his mother and his girlfriend who was with him during the business trip to Dubai.

Their test results have now been forwarded to Philippine Genome Center to determine if they are also carrier of the new COVID variant.