Bohol now has a separate protocol strictly for incoming authorized persons outside residence (APORs) as agreed by the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) and ratified by Gov. Arthur Yap.

The protocol contains more defined guidelines providing procedure and travel requirements for the entry of APORs to the province amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor on Friday ratified the set of guidelines for APORs which was submitted to him as approved by Bohol doctors in a BIATF meeting the other week.

On Thursday, the national IATF agreed to allow anybody, whom it calls the non-APORs, to travel but only between the areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), which is presently Bohol’s category.

This is intended to gradually reopen tourism in the country and for the non-APORs to enjoy “staycation,” short for stay on vacation.

Bohol is poised to reopen tourism by mid-November, although softly, as even the anticipated Christmas rush may still be far remote from usual to cap this year merrily under the new normal.

The province is yet to hold copy of the new IATF guidelines on non-APOR travel.

THE PROCESS

Under the protocol, the process flow starts with the APOR or requesting party coordinating with the receiving party or local government unit (LGU) in Bohol to ensure availability of quarantine facility.

By this, transportation from port of entry to the quarantine facility and compliance with the local health protocol are arranged, too.

The LGU focal person must submit the name/s of the APOR/s with complete documentary requirements to the BIATF through the provincial focal counterpart for BIATF clearance.

These are the requirements:

* Request letter to the BIATF stating the purpose of the travel to Bohol, date of arrival and departure, and specific itinerary during the whole stay of the APOR;

* Mission/work order or letter order or appointment letter;

* Letter of acceptance of the LGU, stating that the APOR has a reserved quarantine facility bed and arranged vehicle and transport personnel from the port of entry to quarantine facility—and to the port of departure after the purpose of travel has been completed;

* Medical certificate from a licensed physician in the place of origin issued 48 hours before the travel to Bohol. The certificate must indicate that the APOR does not show any aymptoms of COVID-19 and is not an active case; and

* Negative result of RT-PCR test by an accredited molecular laboratory for an APOR whose stay in Bohol is less than five days. The swab sample is taken not more than 48 hours before the confirmed flight or pass for other modes of transportation. Result is original and, if available, authenticated and duly signed by the chief pathologist.

The APOR or requesting party, in coordination wit the receiving LGU, will schedule his/her trip to Bohol once all the required documents have been completed

WHEN STAYING OVER 5 DAYS

An APOR who will stay for more than five days will not be required to submit a negative RT-PCR test result before going to Bohol.

But he/she will be required to undergo quarantine upon Bohol arrival, take RT-PCR test on the 5th day, and remain at the facility until a negative result is known.

Once tested negative, the APOR will be released from quarantine but permitted to go only to the specified place/s for the purpose of his/her visit.

The APOR is discouraged from going anywhere outside the specified areas and will limit interaction with individuals other than those directly involved in the purpose of visit.

LESS THAN FIVE DAYS

For an APOR whose stay is less than five days, he/she may be transported immediately to the specified work area for the purpose of visit.

But after his/her work for the day, the APOR will be transported to the quarantine facility.

On the next day, the APOR will be again transported to the specific work area and back to the quarantine facility.

He/she is also discouraged from going anywhere outside the specified areas and will limit interaction with individuals other than those directly involved in the purpose of visit.

All individuals having direct contact with the APOR and places visited by the APOR shall be strictly monitored when contact tracing is to done.

A close contact is any individual who was within six feet to an infected person for at least 15 minutes—or had direct contact with a probable or confirmed case two days before up to 14 days from the date of swabbing of the case.

OTHER GUIDELINES

The meals of the APOR must be packed and not shared with the locals or fellow APOR.

At any given time of the APOR’s stay, when symptoms develop, quarantine is immedite.

The APOR shall be referred to the LGU medical team for assessment and repeat testing must be done.

The APOR will only be allowed to stay for the maximum duration of the purpose of visit.

He/she will be immediately transported to the port of departure by the receiving party/LGU-designated vehicle and transport team once the APOR’s visit has been completed.

If the APOR will test positive within 14 days after leaving Bohol, he/she has to inform the proper authorities in Bohol for immeditae contact tracing here.

APPROVED BY DOCTORS

The protocol for APOR was approved by the BIATF-Health and Medical Group during its meeting at the Capitol on October 5.

In the group are, among others, doctors Ellan Lyll Salada, Bohol’s only infectious disease specialist, Jefferson Ong and Kazan Baluyot who respectively head The Bohol Medical Society and Philippine College of Physicians-Bohol Chapter, Angelo Lechago, Cesar Tomas Lopez who is the BIATF spokesperson, Fruserma Uy of the Provincial Health Office, Jeia Pondoc who is the Tagbilaran City health officer, and Mutya Kismet Tirol-Macuno, chief of the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital which is Bohol’s biggest government hospital supervised by the Department of Health.

Other doctors from both private and government hospitals attended the critical meeting.

The governor ratified the important protocol on October 16, citing the prevailing rise of COVID-19 cases and continuing threat to the Filipinos without sparing the people of Bohol.

The Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, with additional amendments just on Octoner 8, directs minimum public health standard compliance at all times for the duration of the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), which is Bohol’s current alarm system.

Yap called for strict compliance in ratifying the APOR protocol. (Ven rebo Arigo)