MANILA, Aug 11 (Mabuhay) — All individuals who are fully vaccinated but have direct contact with a person infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, Malacañang said Wednesday.

The fresh directive came after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) decided on Tuesday to suspend the shortened testing and quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated individuals who are close contacts of a coronavirus-infected individual, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, temporarily suspended the protocol that allowed for a shortened quarantine period for fully vaccinated individuals who are close contacts of probable and confirmed Covid-19 cases,” said Roque, who is also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson.

The Department of Health (DOH) defines close contact as having exposure during the two days before and the 14 days after the onset of symptoms of an individual with a probable or confirmed case of Covid-19.

The DOH considers a person exposed to an infected individual if he has a “face-to-face contact within one meter and for at least 15 minutes, direct physical contact, direct care for a patient without using personal protective equipment, or other situations as indicated by local risk assessments.”

Roque said the suspension of the shortened quarantine among fully-vaccinated individuals with direct contact with an infected person is part of the government’s continued implementation of proactive measures “to slow down the surge in Covid-19 cases and to stop the further spread of the variants.”

He said fully-vaccinated individuals have to comply with the DOH’s Department Memorandum No. 2020-0512 or the Revised Interim Omnibus Guidelines on the Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment, and Reintegration Strategies for Covid-19 issued on Nov. 26 last year.

“Said DOH memorandum states that all close contacts of probable and confirmed cases and travelers shall be placed under a 14-day quarantine period,” Roque said.

Roque said close contacts who remain asymptomatic 14 days from the date of exposure to an infected individual can discontinue their quarantine.

“In the event that they develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus, they shall be isolated and shall be admitted and treated in an appropriate facility,” he said.

Under IATF-EID Resolution 124-B issued on July 2, fully-vaccinated individuals were initially allowed to undergo a shortened seven-day quarantine period, so long as they remain asymptomatic for that duration.

Fully-vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to Covid-19 are also not required to take a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, in case they do not exhibit any symptoms after undergoing seven-day quarantine, according to IATF-EID Resolution 124-B. (MNS)

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