DOH: ‘Not yet time’ to restrict China travelers amid COVID-19 surge

The Department of Health sees no need yet to restrict arrivals from China amid increasing COVID-19 cases there following the loosening of its draconian zero-Covid rules.

The Department of Health (DOH) said it is not yet time to impose stricter restrictions on travelers from China, where cases of COVID-19 have ballooned after the East Asian country relaxed its pandemic rules.

“Sa ngayon, base sa pananaw ng DOH, kasama ng aming mga eksperto, hindi pa ho tayo napapanahon o wala tayong nakikitang pangangailangan para magsara tayo ng borders to this specific country o ‘di kaya ay magkaroon ng mas maigting na restrictions para sa bansang ito,” said DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire in a press conference last December 29.

“We are in a much better position now compared to one or two years ago because most of our citizens are fully vaccinated already, and have learned the good behavior of practicing minimum public health standards,” she added.

Vergeire issued the statement following the recommendation of the Department of Transportation that RT-PCR testing must be made mandatory for passengers from China upon their arrival to the Philippines.

The DOH official also said the government’s pandemic task force would have to discuss the border-tightening proposals first.

“Right now, it is just for us to monitor and observe the situation. But [we will continue to impose] our strengthened surveillance, and of course that regulation that we require a negative antigen test coming from individuals from other countries who are not vaccinated,” Vergeire said.

More and more countries, such as the United States, Italy, India, Japan, Malaysia, and Taiwan, have imposed tougher measures on visitors from China.

China is currently grappling with an outbreak of new COVID-19 cases after it abandoned its “zero COVID” policy in early December.

Thumbnail photo made via Canva

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