Local authorities in General Santos City have sought the suspension of local commercial flights at its international airport as a preventive health protocol to regulate the entry of locally stranded individuals from Luzon and Visayas, following the arrival of a stranded local resident from Cebu who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
More than 100 local residents of General Santos City have been stranded since Saturday, June 6, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after Cebu Pacific cancelled the local flight bound for the city.
Cebu Pacific said the cancellation of its flight was due to the restrictions imposed by the city government.
General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera stressed that the city government sought the suspension of local commercial flights pending coordination meetings with airline companies and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to “come up with health protocols to strictly monitor the arrival of stranded local residents in the city.”
Rivera said one of the protocols is for the airline company to notify the city government three days prior to the arrival of the flight in the city.
The advance notification, the mayor said, is to allow the city government to prepare and provide quarantine facilities for the returning residents.
The city government wanted to ensure that the arrival of residents will not exceed the capacity of the city’s quarantine facilities.
Currently, there are about 200 returning overseas Filipino workers who are currently undergoing quarantine at local hotels and pension houses, which serve as temporary isolation facilities arranged by the local government.
Local health authorities have already conducted contact-tracing of persons who were with a 22-year-old male COVID-19 positive patient from Cebu City who arrived in General Santos City on May 31.
Assistant city health officer Lalaine Calonzo said those who were subjected to contact-tracing includes the passengers of the flight boarded by the patient.