Quarantine space lack prompts 2-day hold on MCIA international flight arrivals
CEBU CITY—The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) will not accept international flight arrivals for at least two days because of the lack of quarantine rooms for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other returning overseas Filipinos.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia announced on Thursday (May 13) that the 2,500 rooms of 35 hotels being used as isolation facilities were already nearing full capacity.
“As of last night we were facing a crisis,” said Garcia. “And for that reason, the MCIAA has declared that they will close for two days, May 14 and May 15. Flights have already been canceled,” she said at a press briefing at the capitol.
Garcia called for an emergency meeting on Thursday morning and arrived at a decision with airport authorities to cancel all incoming international flights for two days—May 14 and 15.
Among those at the emergency meeting were regional directors from the Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Mactan-Cebu Airport Authority, the Bureau of Quarantine, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry and the Hotels and Resorts Association of Cebu.
The governor said only a few hotels agreed to serve as isolation facilities because such would prevent them from taking other bookings. Other hotels want to accommodate non-quarantine guests but their request to do so was still pending in concerned government agencies.
The Cebu provincial government recently decided to test all Filipinos from abroad, including OFWs, upon arrival at the airport, contrary to the protocol set by officials of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) who said testing should be done seven days after the Filipinos’ return.
Non-Cebu residents will have to show proof of their itinerary in returning to provinces outside of Cebu and will have to subject themselves to health protocols of the local government unit or heed IATF rules.
While waiting for test results, non-Cebu residents will be staying for two days at a quarantine facility or hotel.
Cebu residents will be allowed to go home after negative test results. But they would be required to go on home quarantine and tested again after seven days in their homes.
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