Sending off, meeting of passengers inside NAIA banned for now amid COVID-19 threat – MIAA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2020   •   3737

MANILA, Philippines – The sending off and meeting of passengers inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals will temporarily be prohibited amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said.

In a statement issued Sunday, MIAA said non-passengers and non-airport employees will not be allowed to enter the premises of NAIA terminals for now as part of the government efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“The Manila International Airport Authority temporarily bans entry of non-passengers and non-airport personnel into the NAIA airport terminals,” MIAA said.

“Effective immediately, sending-off and meeting passengers inside the NAIA terminals will not be allowed. The move is to further the efforts of government to contain the spread of COVID-19,” it added.

In a separate statement, airport authorities also called on passengers of international flights not to proceed to the airport unless they have ticketed reservations or confirmed bookings on a certain flight.

MIAA noted that a big number of passengers with unconfirmed bookings still proceed to the airport to take their chances on boarding a flight.

“This considerable number of chance passengers causes overcrowding inside the airport terminals and goes against the social distancing measures being implemented by the government in its efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” it said.

Metro Manila is currently under a 30-day community quarantine period as government tries to combat the spread of the virus.

During the quarantine period, all land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila is suspended, subject to the daily review of the government.

But cargo flights, air ambulance and medical supplies, government/military flights, weather mitigation flights and maintenance and utility flights may continue with their operations.

All general aviation flights will also be diverted to the Clark International Airport and Sangley Airport as no flights are allowed within the quarantined zone.

As for international flights, special airport-to-airport trips arranged by the airlines, in coordination with airport authorities shall be allowed. Passengers are advised to observe at least one-meter radius distance from others.

MIAA said security officers manning the gates have been instructed to double-check the airline ticket of each passenger entering the terminals and only allow entry to those with ticketed reservations.

PH gov’t to ramp up administration of COVID vaccine booster jabs to 500K a day – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will increase the number of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots being administered in the country to 500,000 daily, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting with officials on Monday, Galvez said more than 4.7 million Filipinos have taken their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. The daily average is 267,900 shots.

“Ito po sa ating analysis ay mababa dahil halos sabay po natin inilunsad ang pagbabakuna ng mga bata, ang mga bata po ngayon ay mahigit na 8 million,” he said.

“Ang average po natin naitala ay mahigit na 260,000 po lamang. Kinakailangan po na maiangat sa doblado or 500,000 doses kada araw,” he added.

Galvez said the country needs to ramp up its booster output in order to achieve its target of boosting more than 70 million Filipinos against COVID-19.

To increase the output, the official said concerned agencies have drafted strategies including the expansion of vaccination sites for boosters using pharmacies and private clinics.

“Concentrate po tayo sa NCR+ 10 at sa mga area na may more than 70 percent fully vaccinated para mapanatili na mataas at tuloy-tuloy na proteksiyon,” Galvez said.

“I-expand po natin ang vaccination sites for boostering using big pharmacies and private sector clinics for the A4 population… At mag-dedicate po tayo ng mega vaccination site like Nayong Pilipino at mga malls for boosters administration,” he added.

The Philippine government is eyeing to fully vaccinate up to 77 million Filipinos in the first quarter of this year and 90 million Filipinos by the second quarter.

To date, more than 55 million individuals have been fully vaccinated since the Philippines rolled out its immunization campaign in March 2020.

1,749 commuters attempted to ride trains sans proof on first day of ‘no vax, no ride policy – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday reported that a total of 1,749 commuters attempted to take rail lines without showing proof of their COVID-19 immunization during the first day of the implementation of the “no vaccination, no ride” policy in Metro Manila.

In a statement, the DOTr said the breakdown of commuters who tried to board trains are as follows:

  • Philippine National Railways: 8
  • MRT-3: 1,204
  • LRT-2: 136
  • LRT-1: 401

The DOTr said the first day of the implementation of the policy was “generally peaceful.”

The Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) – the agencies primarily responsible for enforcing the policy in the road sector – said the first day of the policy’s implementation saw enforcers comprehensively explaining the guidelines of the DOTr order to commuters.

“According to reports from our men on the ground, most of the passengers were prepared for the policy. They voluntarily handed over their vaccination cards to our enforcers for thorough inspection and verification before boarding public utility vehicles (PUVs),” said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

“Since this is just the first day of the policy’s implementation, our enforcers were instructed to just issue the violators warnings instead of outrightly apprehending them for non-compliance,” said DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor.

“These persons were later properly turned over to their respective local government units (LGUs) for assistance,” added Pastor.

The “no vaccination, no ride” policy was implemented on Monday, January 17, 2022, in a bid to help curb the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 amid a recent spike in the number of infections in Metro Manila.

Tugade said the department’s “no vaccination, no ride” aims to also protect the unvaccinated from getting severe COVID-19 infections.

The policy will be in effect while a COVID-19 Alert Level 3 level or higher remains hoisted in the NCR as to be determined by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF).

Meanwhile, exempted from the “no vaccination, no ride” policy are the following:

  • Persons with medical conditions that prevent their full COVID-19 vaccination as shown by a duly-signed medical certificate with the name and contact details of their doctor.
  • Persons who will buy essential goods and services, such as but not limited to food, water, medicine, medical devices, public utilities, energy, work, and medical and dental necessities, as shown by a duly issued barangay health pass or other proof to justify travel.

Galvez: Nearly 7 million Filipino minors vaccinated vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 7 million minors in the Philippines have been inoculated against COVID-19 in the ongoing vaccination campaign, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Galvez said 6.88 million or 54 percent of children aged 12 to 17 have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease.

“I am happy to report na maganda po ang ating ongoing vaccination for minors at napakataas po ng antas ng public acceptance. Lalo na po noong National Vaccination Day nagdo-dominate po ang mga minors na talagang pumunta po sa mga vaccination site,” he told the president.

“Sa ngayon po ay may 8.49 million or 67 percent na po ang naka-receive ng first dose and 6.88 million or 54 percent na po ang fully vaccinated sa ating aged 12 to 17 years old,” he added.

With the current vaccination output, Galvez expressed optimism that the immunization campaign for the said age group will be completed by March.

“Sa assessment po namin na kung magtuloy-tuloy ang magandang output natin at kaya po nating matapos ang pagbabakuna ng kabataan edad 12 hanggang 17 anyos by end of March at makapagsimula po tayo ng boosters by April pagka po napayagan po tayo ng mga experts,” he said.

Galvez, who is also chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, said the government will continue to pursue the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 as they expect more supply of vaccines formulated by Pfizer-BioNTech for this age bracket to arrive in the country in the coming weeks.

He also disclosed that Chinese drug firm Sinovac has applied for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine shots for kids aged 3 to 17 in the country. He said this brand could be used as a source of alternative supply once approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.

Data presented by Galvez showed that at least 55.1 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while more than 4.7 million Filipinos have taken their booster shots.

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