No suspension of Naia international flights, Palace exec clarifies
MANILA, Philippines — The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) remains open for international flights, but travelers flying to Metro Manila once the community quarantine starts on March 15 will have to stay within the metropolis until the domestic travel restriction is lifted, a Palace official said.
“Regarding international flights, flights from Metro Manila going to and coming from abroad will be allowed, subject to travel restrictions that are currently in place,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
Nograles suggested that travelers whose destination are in the provinces should fly into the country via Clark and other airports outside Metro Manila.
“Anyone flying in from abroad via NAIA will remain in Metro Manila until the domestic travel ban is lifted and again that begins on March 15,” Nograles said.
“If the ultimate destination is in the provinces, we suggest you fly in via Clark, Cebu and other airports not under quarantine so you can proceed to your ultimate destination in the provinces,” he added.
President Duterte on Thursday approved the imposition of community quarantine in Metro Manila to prevent the spread and transmission of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The community quarantine will suspend land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila from March 15, 2020 to April 14, 2020.
Nograles, however, noted that the domestic travel restriction to and from Metro Manila will be subjected for review on a daily basis by the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“The suspension of domestic travel will be reviewed on a daily basis and maybe lifted earlier if the situation allows it and extend further if the situation requires it,” Nograles said.
Nograles also said that international flights to and from Metro Manila will be allowed, “subject to travel restrictions that are currently in place.”
But the strict 14-day quarantine protocol remains in place for foreign nationals coming from countries with localized COVID-19 transmissions, Nograles said.
“Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouse and children, holders of permanent resident visas and holders of diplomatic visas issued by the Philippine government are welcome to the Philippines,” Nograles added.
The Philippine government has upgraded its alert on COVID-19 from Code Red Sublevel 1 to Sublevel 2, which is hoisted when there is evidence of community transmission and prevalence of cases beyond what the government can address.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) has so far confirmed 52 cases of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that first emerged in Wuhan, China min December last year.
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