A public health expert on Saturday, May 29, said the proposal of the Department of Tourism (DOT) to establish a “green lane” for vaccinated travelers entering the country is “counterintuitive” amid the threat of new coronavirus variants spreading worldwide.
“Counterintuitive siya (It is counterintuitive),” Dr. Anthony Leachon said in an interview over TeleRadyo, referring the proposed “green lane” of the DOT for foreign travelers fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Leachon noted that while other countries prohibit the entry of travelers from the Philippines because of the variants, the Philippines, on the other hand, is “very hospitable” with foreign travelers despite the threat of the new variants.
“Pagka tayo nag green lane dito, tayo mismo ang gumagawa ng problema natin (When we set up a green lane here, we are just creating our own problems),” he said.
“Alam naman natin ang variant nanggagaling sa ibang bansa. Hinay-hinay muna tayo diyan (We know that the variant is coming from other countries. Let us take that slowly),” he added.
The proposal of the Tourism department of setting up a green lane seeks to make it easier for vaccinated foreign travelers to enter the country by easing some arrival protocols.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the green lane will pave the way for the reopening of the country’s tourist destinations to vaccinated leisure travelers.
“It will give the jobs back to many of our tourism workers and gradually revive the tourism industry under safe conditions,” she said.
However, the health expert believes that the government should focus its efforts right now in allowing more essential workers to return to work in order to keep the wheels of economy turning.
“The least of our concerns, sa tingin ko (I think), will be tourism,” Leachon said.
“Ang maganda muna ngayon yung essential workers natin makapasok so that mabuhay ang ating ekonomiya (What is good right now is to help our essential workers return to work in order to revive our economy),” he added.