It will be up to the local government units (LGU) to either allow or bar locally stranded individuals (LSI) and overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from undergoing home quarantine after Gov. Art Yap signed an executive order giving homebound Boholanos the option to isolate themselves in a private living space upon entering the province.
According to Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force spokesman Dr. Yul Lopez, it will be the LGUs that will inspect an LSI’s chosen private quarantine area and determine if it is ideal for isolation.
“Base sa assessment sa municipal mayor ug municipal health officer, naa ra nila ang discretion kung aprobahan ba nila ang inyong private facility,” Lopez who is also the province’s assistant health officer said.
“Dili itugot ang private quarantine kung makit-an sa doctor or mayor na delikado ang sitwasyon sa balay ug dili mapanigurado ang strikto na isolation. So it’s really the call of the municipal mayors, gihatag na ni governor ang discretion sa tagsa-tagsa ka mayor to assess whether or not a private facility can be allowed,” he added.
The Capitol’s move to relax quarantine protocols for incoming Boholanos has been opposed by the Bohol Medical Society and the Philippine College of Physicians Bohol Chapter.
“It would take only one unidentified active case to begin a nightmarish scenario of an uncontrolled outbreak,” both groups said in a joint statement issued last week.
Yap’s Executive Order 54 which was issued on November 20 allows LSIs, OFWs and returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) to undergo a 10-day quarantine in their homes instead of a government facility if they submit a negative result of a PCR test done 72 hours prior to their arrival.
The LSI, OFW, or ROF should be isolated in a “private room away from the rest of the occupants of the household” while the chosen quarantine space should have the approval of the Rural Health Unit and the endorsement of the mayor.
Meanwhile, those who do not have PCR test results may still opt to undergo home quarantine if they isolate themselves in a house with no one else staying in it.
“ROFS, LSIs, and OFWs may undergo quarantine in a private quarantine facility for the same period of 14 days provided that the ROFs, LSIs and OFWs are the sole occupants of their homes and upon approval by the Rural Health Unit with the endorsement of the chief executive of the local government,” the EO states.
The eased quarantine measures come at a time when active COVID-19 cases in Bohol skyrocketed from just 29 on November 24 to 149 on Wednesday.
According to the BMS and PCP Bohol, relaxing quarantine protocols for LSIs and OFWs will increase the likelihood of imported cases and subsequent spread into the community.
The two medical societies raised concern over the “unreliability of the 72-hour pre-departure testing.”
There had been instances wherein individuals tested positive upon their arrival in their destinations even after having submitted a negative test result three days prior, both groups said.