By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Sunday clarified that the suspension of international inbound passenger flights in nine international airports will give time for the decongestion of quarantine facilities in Metro Manila.
It said the government had already accommodated around 20,000 repatriates who are quarantined in Metro Manila, at an arrival rate of 2,000 per day.
“This measure to temporarily suspend international passenger arrivals will enable the government to decongest the processing of this number to a more manageable level, given the need to observe strict health protocols, and the fact that existing quarantine facilities are at full capacity,” the DOTr said in a statement.
It also pointed out that the suspension of international flights will ensure that the country will not experience a second wave of COVID-19 due to the increasing number of international passenger arrivals.
“It should be noted that most of our repatriated citizens are coming from countries which [have] experienced significant COVID-19 outbreak,” DOTr added.
This will also allow the government’s frontline agencies tasked to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease to upgrade their testing and screening protocols, expand existing quarantine and treatment facilities, and ensure a more comfortable quarantine arrangement for repatriates, the DOTr said.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 has temporarily suspended the use of all international airports in the country on Sunday to allow the current system to ramp up its capacity to properly process the growing number of Filipino repatriates returning to the Philippines daily.