MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is finalizing guidelines for those who will be returning to work after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Wednesday said it is not required for all employees to undergo a coronavirus test prior to returning to work, noting that they do not recommend the test for individuals who did not have any exposure to any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient.
“Hindi requirement para sa lahat ng empleyado [ang testing] at para lamang sa mga nangangailangan ang testing ayon sa guidelines ng DOH,” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.
(Testing is not a requirement for all employees and it is only for those who need testing based on the guidelines of the DOH.)
“Kasalukuyang pina-finalize ng kagawaran ang return to work guidelines para sa ating mga empleyado,” she added.
(The DOH is currently finalizing the return to work guidelines for our employees.)
At present, DOH is prioritizing tests for individuals who were exposed to COVID-19 patients or who had travel history to places with confirmed cases of the disease.
Vergeire said employers could also not just use COVID-19 rapid antibody test kits in screening their employees.
She then reminded employers that rapid tests must still be validated by polymerase chain (PCR) tests and that licensed medical professionals must interpret subsequent results.
The enhanced community quarantine will be lifted for some areas in Luzon on April 30 but extended until May 15 for Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and other “high-risk” areas in Visayas and Mindanao.
DOH earlier said the public must embrace a “new normal” wherein wearing face masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing is required even after the enhanced community quarantine is lifted.
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