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IATF lifts required aircraft isolation area in domestic flights

/ 01:01 PM November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has removed the requirement for carriers to reserve isolation areas on their aircraft for ill passengers.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque, who concurrently serves as the official IATF mouthpiece, said in a statement Friday that the removal of the required quarantine area in the aircraft cabin will apply to domestic flights.

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Asked to explain the latest IATF decision, Roque told reporters in a text message: “Kasi may requirements na ang airlines na either PCR or antigen.”

(Airlines are already requiring passengers to undergo either PCR or antigen testing.)

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He added that symptoms screening is also being done before passengers can board their respective flights.

Meanwhile, local government units (LGUs) are instructed to relax entry protocols on airline crew layovers or positioning due to emergency situations which include typhoons, volcanic activities, diversions, and emergency landings, and other similar unforeseen and time-sensitive evacuations.

Airline crew members are also permitted to temporarily billet in accommodation establishments under a “bubble” concept supervised by the LGUs, Roque said.

The IATF likewise authorized Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to set up a corporate jet flight maintenance and crew layover hub at the Subic Special Economic and Freeport Zone under a strict “bubble” concept.

It also expanded the coverage of foreign nationals who are allowed to enter the country. Foreigners with visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration pursuant to Section 9(d) of Commonwealth Act No. 613 and those with visas issued by the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, and Clark Development Corporation will now be allowed entry into the Philippines.

On Nov. 1, the government reopened the country’s doors to foreign nationals, particularly to those with investors’ visas.

Finally, age restrictions for those below 15-years old and 65-years old above in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine Areas (MGCQ), who are traveling for tourism purposes may be relaxed upon the determination of the LGUs and guidelines to be issued by the Department of Tourism, the Department of Health, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Roque said.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, health protocols, IATF, Malacañang, NcoV, pandemic, Philippines
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