Incoming international flights suspended for one week
MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 has suspended all incoming international flights in the country’s main gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Manila, and other international airports in the country, angering overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected.
The suspension was announced close to midnight on Saturday, hours after the flight ban was supposed to take effect on 8 a.m. on Sunday and effective until May 9.
“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 are well taken care of when they arrive from abroad,” NTF chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a statement on Sunday.
Flights exempted were emergencies while en-route; cargo flights; air ambulance and medical supplies flights; weather mitigation flights; and sweeper flights for foreign nationals being repatriated back to their respective countries.All domestic flights—arrivals and departures—at Naia will remain suspended.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, outbound international commercial flights approved by the Interagency Task Force for Infectious Diseases and the Department of Foreign Affairs would be allowed.
The suspension, however, sent a flurry of angry and frustrated OFWs awaiting since March to return home.
“The move is deemed necessary in order to ensure that our country will not experience a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic due to the increasing number of international passenger arrivals,” the Department of Transporation said, noting that repatriated Filipinos came from virus-hit countries.
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