A general view of the Philippines Consulate in Dubai.
The repatriation of Filipinos from all over the world as an aftermath of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic has been suspended for a week.
The notification came as a May 3, 2020 general announcement from the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi (AUHPE).
It follows a directive from Manila’s Department of Transportation (DoTr) which “(acceeded) to the decision of the National Task Force Against COVID19 to temporarily suspend the use of all international airports in the country effective (8 a.m.) of (May 3) for international inbound flights, except enroute emergencies.”
The AUHPE advisory reads: “Please be advised that all international airports in the Philippines will be closed to all international inbound flights carrying Filipino and foreign passengers starting Sunday, (May 3) 2020 for the duration of one week.”
“Only cargo operations, medical supplies, utility and maintenance flights shall be allowed.”
Over in Dubai and in an exchange of WhatsApp messages with the Philippine Press, Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes directed the group further to the DoTr May 3 press release. It states the decision was arrived at by the task force on pandemic so as to prevent “a second wave of COVID19” across the Southeast Asian archipelago.
The main entry point to the Philippines is the densely populated national capital region of Metro Manila, home to over 12 million Filipinos and foreigners, and where the country’s premier Ninoy Aquino International Airport is located, particularly in Pasay City.
DoTr said it is of utmost importance that all safety and security nets against the highly infectious disease-”strict health protocols”-are diligently observed and implemented at all times.
The task force also took into consideration “that all existing quarantine facilities are at full capacity.”
So far, a total of 20,000 Filipinos elsewhere in the world-average of 2,000 daily-had arrived in Metro Manila since the mass evacuation began last month, either through the assistance of their employers or through the special fund allocation of Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs-Assistance to Nationals Section.
Cortes said the Philippine missions in the UAE shall do the re-booking for those affected by the temporary closure of the international airports in the Philippines as the next batch had been scheduled on May 6 (Wednesday).
Cortes said the Philippine missions are continuously accepting and assessing the applications for repatriation.
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