Gov’t allows resumption of non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos

Friday, October 16th, 2020. Filed under: News Philippine News

MANILA, Oct 16 (Mabuhay) — The government’s COVID-19 task force has lifted the restriction on non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos, Malacañang announced on Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the policy will be effective on October 21. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) earlier suspended the implementation of this policy.

Under the guidelines, a traveler must have adequate travel and health insurance and submit confirmed roundtrip tickets for those traveling on tourist visas.

He or she must also execute a declaration acknowledging the risks in traveling and must have a negative antigen test result 24 hours prior to departure and follow the COVID-19 guidelines for returning Filipinos.

Roque said the policy will be beneficial to Filipinos who wish to visit their foreign partners abroad.

Sale events

Roque also announced that the IATF has also allowed business establishments and malls to hold sales and other marketing events to spur consumer spending amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The government previously disallowed marketing events and other promotions in malls, which tend to attract large crowds, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Tourism, travel

This developed as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) allowed tourism and travel-related activities to resume under relaxed quarantine classifications.

The DTI issued Memorandum Circular No. 20-53, dated October 14, prescribing the recategorization of travel agencies, tour operators, reservation service, and related activities from Category IV to Category III.

This means the said establishments are “allowed to reopen at 50% operational capacity for areas placed under GCQ (general community quarantine) and 100% capacity for areas under modified GCQ, subject to minimum public health standards and protocols.”

These developments came days after the Department of Tourism (DOT) cleared several hotels for “staycation” as it eyes more for bookings amid the pandemic.

Last month, the IATF gave its approval to “staycations” in areas under GCQ.

Increase in transmission seen

The easing of restrictions, however, is expected to result in an increase in COVID-19 transmission in the country, according to UP assistant professor Ranjit Rye of OCTA Research.

“Ine-expect po namin magkakaroon ng bahagyang pagtaas ng transmission dahil nga sa lumuluwag ang ekonomiya, dadami po ‘yung transmission ng COVID-19,” he said.

Rye made the statement when asked about the possible effect of allowing  more people to go out of their homes as part of measures to revive the economy.

As of October 14, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines was at 346,536 with 1,910 new infections. It was the second day in a row with less than 2,000 new cases.

The bulk of the newly reported infections were still recorded in Metro Manila at 624, followed by Cavite with 219 new cases, Batangas with 104, Rizal with 91, and Negros Occidental with 63.

Eighty-six percent or 1,639 of the latest infections caught COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Meanwhile, total recoveries rose to 293,860 after 579 more patients recovered from the respiratory disease.

The death toll also increased to 6,449 with 78 new fatalities, 64 of whom died this month. (MNS)

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