Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced Tuesday that the Philippine government would implement a home quarantine ban for COVID-19 patients, whether they are asymptomatic or mild cases.
Authorities plan to “strictly implement” a “no home quarantine” policy “within the week,” Año said in an interview with The Source on CNN Philippines.
“Pinakamaganda talaga ay lahat ma-isolate natin, rich and poor,” said Año, who is also a member of the government task force against COVID-19.
(It’s really best that we isolate everyone, rich and poor.)
The DILG chief, however, clarified that there would be an exception on the home quarantine ban as they finalize the guidelines. As an example, he cited an elderly woman who could be challenging to take care of in a quarantine facility could be exempted from the ban.
DOH on home quarantine ban
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said it is unlikely to impose a home quarantine ban for asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 despite the possibility that such measures could have contributed to community transmission of the virus.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the health department is still studying the existing protocol of home quarantine for asymptomatic and mild cases COVID-19 patients.
“We did not change our protocol. We still allow home quarantine, provided that people who will do the home quarantine can satisfy the conditions,” Vergeire said in a virtual briefing last Friday.
Chief testing czar in the fight against COVID-19 Vince Dizon said in July that a mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patient should have his or her room, own bathroom and must not be living with an elderly, pregnant, or person with a pre-existing medical condition. Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams should also promptly monitor the patient during his strict home quarantine.
Home quarantine causes community transmissions
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary earlier, claimed that the home quarantine caused the surge in COVID-19 cases for asymptomatic and mild patients.
Vergeire reported Monday the COVID-19 clusters in the country are highest in communities, business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, and different modes of transportation.
Vergeire said 84.9% or 1,480 of the 1,742 instances of clustering of cases are found in communities.