Philippines’ recent expiry on crew change ban led to new quarantine and protocols for incoming seafarers
The recent major ban imposed by the Philippines on crew change involving over 35 countries has expired. However, the country is not relaxing its safety measures. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) announced a series of new protocols for all seafarers before allowing entry into the Philippines.
- All seafarers are to be quarantined upon arrival, and undertake a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test on the fifth day
- Seafarers tested negative will be endorsed and transferred to the local government units for the remainder of the 14-day quarantine period through their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams
- These measures remain subjected to the maximum capacity of inbound seafarers at the port and date of entry
To date, the Philippines have over 520,000 cases of infections and a death toll of over 10,700. These numbers are among the highest in Asia. On 1 February 2021, the country’s Department of health (DOH) reported 1,658 cases.
In terms of vaccines, Manila alone reportedly hopes to inoculate 70 million people, or two-thirds of the population. AstraZeneca is one of the seven vaccine manufacturers the Philippines is in talks with for supply deals, which are on top of the millions of doses it expects to receive via the COVAX facility.