NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
The quarantine days of arriving Overseas Contract Workers (OFW) and Locally Stranded Individuals (LSI) was reduced to five days, instead of the usual 14 days.
Governor Arthur C. Yap issued the statement during the press briefing at the new Capitol on Friday.
This came following the move of the Bohol Inter-agency Task Force of cutting short of the quarantine period from 14-day mandatory quarantine to five days for LSI), returning OFWs, including the Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) entering into Bohol.
But this move (quarantine shortcut) has been opposed. The Bohol Medical Society (BMS) “raises its objection” to the “new normal” health protocol for the quarantine period, according to In its official statement released to media last week.
Until presstime, the governor has not issued a written order on the quarantine day reduction even as the Dr. Jeff OIng, president of the Bohol Medical Society (BMS) Bohol chapter already sent a letter to Gov., Yap after two meetings last week with the medical cluster of the Bohol IATF. Dr. Kazan Baluyot, president of the Philippine College of Physicians (Bohol chapter) came in support of the doctors’ stand which is to take the swab PCR testing on the 8th day, and not on the 5th.
BIATF spokesman Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, Yul cited the availability of the laboratory in the city for PCR test prompted the cutting short of the quarantine period.
Five days after if the LSI or OFW are found to be negative and asymptomatic since day one, he shall be discharged from the quarantine facility where he has been staying.
Those (LSI or OFWs) coming from COVID-19 hotspots, like Cebu, Manila and U. S. A., are to continue their quarantine at home on the 6th day. He said they won’t allow him to go out of his home.
Earlier, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Bohol chapter led by Mayor Miriam Sumaylo opposed the home quarantine for their respective LSIs and OFWs.
Lopez explained that one of the considerations in deciding for 5-day quarantine is the mental aspect of the LSI or OFW. Once they’re isolated they are depressed and they want to be reunited with their families to for “a sense of reunion.”
Following the 5-day policy, the governor issued Memorandum No. 41-2020 dated August 4, 2020 addressed to all city and municipal mayors, informing the latter of the modified quarantine period.
“All ROFs, LSIs and APORS may undergo PCR test on 5th day and may terminate their quarantine if the test yields negative result and they are asymptomatic throughout 5-day quarantine,” the Memo said.
The governor’s Memo pointed out that cutting short of the quarantine period “is to test our capability to adopt to new normal of travel, ingress and egress of province and reopening of our tourism industry and the health and safety of our population.”
BMS retorted that “It was agreed that the 5 days with subsequent RT-PCR testing protocol shall be applied to short term visitors and possibly tourists along with a stringent restriction on range of movement and lengths of stay.”
It said that the said move “is not applicable to OFWs and LSIs who are expected to be reintroduced into the general population. They, therefore, comply the 14 days quarantine period.”
“Allows us to reiterate that RT-PCR can detect the viral genetic material (RNA) which can either be infectious (2 days before and 10 days after symptom onset) on non-infectious (10 days after symptom onset in most cases).”
“Its accuracy is affected by the timing of collection and amount of virus in the nose where the test specimen is collected: Day 1 of exposure – 0%; day 4 of exposure – 33%; Day 5 of exposure (first day of symptom) – 62%; Day 8 of exposure (3rd day of symptom) – 80%; and Day 21 of exposure (likely no more symptom) – 34%,” the BMS said.
“With this information, it is best to swab in 8th day of quarantine, the highest chances of picking upof a positive case.”
BMS maintains that LSIs, OFWs and APORs be quarantine for 14-day period upon their arrival to Bohol as “this would greatly prevent the transmission events.”
The statement was signed by its president Dr. Ong.
BIATF spokesman Dr. Lopez said in last week’s virtual presser that the move to short-cut the quarantine period is unanimously concurred by the medical doctors in Bohol and upon the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control in the U. S. A. (rvo)