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By Dona Pazzibugan, Leila Salaverria, Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:35:00 06/28/2009

MANILA, Philippines—The days of self-quarantine are over.

Instead, the Department of Health (DoH) called for “responsible self-monitoring,” saying: “Travelers shall monitor [themselves] for 10 days after arrival, observe for signs and symptoms of influenza-like illness and submit to DoH national guidelines if [these symptoms develop].”

Nearly two months since it went on overdrive to address the entry of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, the DoH has begun to ease up on control measures against what it described as a generally mild flu strain.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced in a memorandum dated June 24 “major policy changes from containment to mitigation response to the Influenza A(H1N1) outbreak in the country.”

Under the new Interim Guideline No. 16, travelers arriving from countries with reported A(H1N1) cases no longer have to observe home quarantine before they return to their schools or workplaces.

The DoH had previously recommended home quarantine of up to 10 days for all newly arrived travelers regardless of whether they had flu-like symptoms or not.

As of Friday, the DoH had confirmed 861 flu cases. Of the number, 634 or 74 percent have recovered.