By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS The Department of Health instructs on Friday (Dec. 30, 2022) the Bureau of Quarantine to intensify its quarantine protocols amid the rising number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in China.  (PNA file photo)

MANILA –The Department of Health (DOH) has instructed the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to “intensify quarantine protocols” amid the rising number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in China.

“To strengthen its existing measures, the DOH directed the BOQ to intensify quarantine protocols such as heightened surveillance on all respiratory symptoms in all travelers and conveyances coming from China,” the DOH said Friday.

In its instructions, DOH said the bureau must review thoroughly the Maritime Declaration of Health and the Aircraft General Declaration on health.

It also directed the agency to intensify information dissemination efforts and report intercepted travelers who are symptomatic and Covid-19 positive.

The DOH said it would announce further developments in the coming days as it continues to monitor the situation.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases will discuss on the guidelines on how to deal with the Covid-19 resurgence in China, including our border control for Chinese travelers to the country, for recommendation and approval of the President,” it said.

China faces a surge of Covid-19 cases driven by the Omicron BF.7 subvariant, causing global concern and prompting countries like Japan and the United States to implement additional measures for travelers coming from the east Asian country.

Based on DOH’s current guidelines, foreign travelers who are not fully vaccinated must present a negative antigen or RT-PCR result.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. earlier said he was open to imposing additional restrictions as long as the recommendation is based on science. (PNA)