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Besides Poblacion Girl’s hotel, others apparently have pay-to-skip-quarantine schemes, too. Now what?

Besides Poblacion Girl’s hotel, others apparently have pay-to-skip-quarantine schemes, too. Now what?

  • DOT confirms something we’ve suspected all along: Hotels are accepting bribes to allow travelers to skip quarantine. And it’s not just that Makati hotel where the Poblacion “patient zero” stayed
woman staying in a hotel

More details are starting to surface days after a returning Filipina from the US dubbed as “Poblacion Girl” managed to skip quarantine and infected fellow partygoers with COVID-19. 

According to Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat, there have been previous reports of other quarantine violators even prior to that one case in Makati. However, Puyat said it was only recently that names were disclosed.

Today, the DOT said it is currently probing another quarantine violator: another Filipino returning from the US. It turns out the person never checked into a hotel and went straight to their condominium, where—get this—they even managed to book a home massage service.

The individual admitted skipping quarantine but the DOT has yet to disclose more details like the date of arrival and whether they tested positive and how many people were exposed.

Pay-to-skip-quarantine scheme

But perhaps a more glaring—but also expected—revelation from the recent slew of information is that there seems to be an ongoing scheme in hotels that allows returning Filipinos to pay up to skip quarantining altogether.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Puyat said there were around two to three identified hotels that were allegedly allowing guests to just show up five days after arriving to get an RT-PCR test, no checking in necessary.

Fully vaccinated travelers coming from outside the country are required to quarantine and take a swab test after the fifth day of isolation.

What happens next?

The matter has been escalated to the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Quarantine, Puyat added. DOT’s next step is to catch said hotels, intending to spot-check hotels on the third or fourth day to verify if travelers are indeed quarantining.

According to Malacañang, quarantine violators can be fined at least P20,000 up to P50,000, and/or be imprisoned from one month to six months under the Notifiable Diseases Act.

Meanwhile, hotels found liable for violating quarantine protocols may have their accreditation revoked, said the tourism and interior departments. © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.


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