It’s about time for the government to consider implementing shorter quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers from North America to encourage them to spend the Christmas season with their respective families in the Philippines, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Sunday.
“With the Christmas season fast approaching, it’s now high time for the government to consider shorter quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers from other countries, especially North America,” said Concepcion.
Concepcion insisted that the government should start looking into this possibility so travelers can make their travel plans now and celebrate the Yuletide seasons with their loved ones in the country.
“The aviation industry is on the brink of collapse. If we don’t help the airline industry now, we might face a huge problem on how to travel in the future” the Presidential adviser said.
Leading airline companies likewise issued a call in support of the local aviation industry’s request for the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to consider placing North America on the list of green countries since it is one of their biggest markets.
Philippine Airlines, the country’s flag carrier, claimed that it earned about $1 billion from the said region before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aviation industry has been appealing on the government to implement looser quarantine guidelines for the sector to pave the way for its revival.
During a recent meeting arranged by Concepcion with Department of Health and IATF adviser Dr. Edsel Salvaña, airline executives pushed for a shorter 5-day quarantine period for fully vaccinated passengers for international flights. They suggested that the shorter quarantine period should be complemented with testing before the flight.
PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Gilbert Sta. Maria and Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Planning Officer Dexter Lee have proposed a new protocol on international flights where passengers will be tested 72 hours before departure and will undergo quarantine upon arrival and take an RT-PCR test on the third day. If the result is negative, they can go out of the quarantine facility on the 5th day and continue home quarantine.
Based on data presented, testing before the flight reduces the positivity rate and risk. PAL said its proposal would also allow passengers to save as much as 25,000 pesos aside from enjoying a more comfortable quarantine in the comfort of their own home.
Concepcion stressed that allowing fully vaccinated people to travel is like hitting two birds with one stone. This move, he added, would help revive not only the transport sector, but also the local tourism industry.
“By allowing more mobility to the vaccinated, many people who are relying on tourism for their livelihood can earn enough money for their everyday needs,” he explained.
Concepcion has been pushing for the implementation of the Bakuna Bubble where vaccinated people are given more mobility to help boost the economy and protect the employment of many Filipinos.
More than 1,000 business owners and franchisees backed Concepcion’s proposal, saying the government should look into the possibility of providing incentives to fully vaccinated people, including easing of guidelines.