By Rey Anthony H. Chiu, PIA-Bohol | 11:16 AM February 24, 2021
Starting March 1, Boholanos, whether locally stranded individuals (LSI) returning Overseas Filipinos and Workers (OFW), authorized persons outside residence (APOR) and even non-APOR local and foreign tourists, can now visit Bohol and may no longer need to undergo quarantine.
The decision, however, hinges on the returning resident or entering individual’s observance of minimum health standards: wearing of face masks and face shields, and observing physical distancing at all times.
Admitting that the decision to lift the quarantine requirements and making it as an exception rather than the general rule, Gov. Arthur Yap added that this is in line with Department of Health Region 7 (DOH-7) memorandum dated Feb. 16, recommending the guidance on testing protocols for Bohol for its safe opening of its tourism industry and its economy.
Through Executive Order No. 12, series of 2021, Yap has lifted the quarantine requirements for returning residents like LSI, ROFs, OFWs, APOR and government officials and non-APOR like local and international tourists, investors and businessmen, except for suspect and probable cases of COVID-19.
The governor has also amended the testing protocols for those coming in to Bohol.
The new order said a negative Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test result, when done 72 hours prior to the flight to Bohol, is only good for three days from arrival.
Anyone who presented a negative RT PCR test result and wants to extend their stay here need to take a repeat RT-PCR, or he can opt to take the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and obtain a negative for COVID-19 test result to be allowed to move around freely.
For these people, they have to arrange their own transport, and their Local Government Units (LGUs) are only tasked to monitor the returning resident or entering individuals for repeat testing after three days upon arrival and mandatory quarantine, should they test positive in their opted RT-PCR or RAT.
Moreover, as to the E.O. 12, if testing is done upon arrival, anyone tested would be put in quarantine until a negative test result is released.
In this case, LGUs are responsible for the extraction of their returning residents (LSI, OFWs, ROFs0, APORs and non-APORS) from the point or arrival and transport them to a government quarantine facility, or to a government-accredited private quarantine facility, until the release of their COVID-19 test yielding a negative result, before they can be released.
If the RT-PCR test is taken here, the results are valid for five days.
Should the returning resident or APOR and local and foreign tourist wish to stay longer than that, they would be required to take another RT-PCR or RAT before they can be allowed to go out again.
Unlike the previous executive orders, this new one allows RAT for incoming returning residents, APOR and non-APOR, when the test is done 24 to 48 hours prior to confirmed flight, and the test result must be negative for COVID-19.
Another RAT is necessary upon their arrival here, and a negative test result should be presented.
The negative RAT result in Bohol is valid for five days, and if the person intends to stay longer than five days, a repeat RAT test with a negative for COVID-19 result is necessary.
In cases like these, the inbound person arranges for his transport, but the LGUs will monitor them for their repeat-testing schedule should they stay longer and place them in quarantine if they test positive or develop symptoms.
Since RAT is fast, if one is tested upon arrival, a negative COVID-19 result will allow him to proceed with his activities.
But should the traveler test positive in the RAT, the LGU extraction team will transport them to the government quarantine facility or government accredited private quarantine facility where they will stay for three days and where they will get a repeat RAT on the fourth day.
Another test provided by the new E.O. is the saliva RT-PCR as mandated under Executive Order No. 9.
Bohol would honor a negative for COVID Saliva RT PCR test when it is assayed by an accredited and licensed molecular laboratory.
For this, Bohol is adopting and Integrated Health Information System Solution which will list all accredited laboratories in the country for reference.
Only those who develop symptoms during their stay in Bohol and whose RT-PCR COVID test yield positive results that the same 14-day quarantine at a government quarantine facility or government-accredited quarantine facility is implemented.
On the other hand, a 10-day quarantine in a government quarantine or government-accredited private quarantine facility is set for those who test positive for COVID-19 in the repeat RT-PCR, RAT or Saliva RT PCR results.
And even if they are positive, when they show no symptom for three consecutive days, these individuals would be released and taken as clinically-recovered without any repeat testing.
Over all these, returning residents would need to secure a travel authority from the local police, letter of confirmation from their destination LGU, and even tourists need to secure their confirmed bookings with the Bohol Tourist Contact Tracing Card in addition to the negative COVID-19 test result. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)