International flights into PH suspended until May 8

All international flights to and from the Philippines will remain suspended until May 8, following the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

However, official flights, emergency flights, cargo ambulance and medical supply flights, weather mitigation flights, maintenance flights, and international flights for stranded foreign nationals are exempted from the suspension order, Malacañang clarified on Tuesday, May 5.

The Philippines on Sunday, May 3 suspended all the inbound international passenger and commercial flights in and out of the country to further stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said it has already issued a Notice to Airmen to suspend all inbound international passenger and commercial flights up to 8 a.m. of May 10, following the order of Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force COVID-19.

“This decision is meant to decongest our quarantine facilities to protect our people by preventing the further spread of COVID-19 and also ensure that our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are well taken care of when they arrive from abroad,” Galvez said.

About 20,000 overseas Filipino workers have been repatriated back to the Philippines and are undergoing mandatory quarantine in Metro Manila.

“The new flight restriction is only temporary and will be implemented for one week to give the government the opportunity to decongest the quarantine facilities in Metro Manila,” Galvez added.

Nine international airports in the country were covered by the notice: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Davao International Airport, Clark International Airport, Iloilo International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Zamboanga International Airport, Kalibo International Airport, Laoag International Airport and Puerto Princesa International Airport.

The Department of Transportation, in a statement, said: “The move is deemed necessary in order to ensure that our country will not experience a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increasing number of international passenger arrivals. It should be noted that most of our repatriated citizens are coming from countries which experienced [a] significant COVID-19 outbreak.”

“It will also allow the government’s frontline agencies that are tasked to contain the spread of COVID-19 to upgrade their testing and screening protocols, and expand the existing quarantine and treatment facilities and ensure a more comfortable quarantine arrangement for our repatriated kababayans,” it added.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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