BI: 16,000 foreign, Filipino seafarers cleared at Manila port

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020   •   359

MANILA, Philippines – More than 16,000 Filipino and foreign seafarers from cruise ships that arrived and anchored at the Manila Bay have been processed and cleared during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Friday.

In a statement, the BI said a total of 16,287 sailors were cleared by boarding inspectors – 11,189 of which are Filipinos while 5,098 are foreign nationals.

The bureau said they disembarked from 42 vessels between April 16 to June 15 after undergoing quarantine and getting tested aboard their ships.

The BI added that around 2,300 seafarers remain quarantined aboard their vessels.

Repatriated Filipino seafarers are immediately transported to their places of residence through the help of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Foreign seafarers, on the other hand, are only allowed to disembark upon presentation of a confirmed outbound plane ticket to their country of origin. Immigration personnel will escort them to the airport on the date and time of their scheduled departure, the agency said.

Foreign sailors with Filipino spouses are also allowed to disembark and join their families, provided that they submit a letter-request, marriage certificate, photocopy of passport of Filipino spouse, negative COVID-19 swab test result, and endorsement from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the bureau added.

The BI also shared that last June 11, a group of 122 Sri Lankan seafarers were repatriated to their homeland at the request of their embassy in Manila.

RITM to further scale down operations after staff test positive for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 15, 2020

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) announced it would further scale down its operations as several of their staff tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Wednesday (July 15), the Department of Health (DOH) said contact tracing is currently being conducted.

“So they had to do contact tracing and some of these employees na kasama natin gumagawa sa lab ay na-quarantine sila, (that we work with at the lab are already under quarantine),” said DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The DOH also said that the RITM currently has backlogs due to the amount of specimen being submitted to the laboratory. Vergeire assured that the DOH is coordinating with other laboratories to examine the specimen.

“We are now coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross para iyong backlog na iba ay mapakiusap natin sa kanila. Kapag nag-scale down, hindi ibig sabihin na totally wala gagawin, (so that the backlogs can be given to others. Scaling down does not mean operations have stopped)” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH to include PUV drivers in expanded COVID-19 testing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 15, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) will include additional groups in its expanded testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Aside from the elderly, frontliners, and the immunocompromised, the expanded testing will also cover the PUV drivers, operators, and employees of manufacturing companies.

The DOH said there will be four subgroups for the expanded testing. Subgroup G includes residents in areas with active COVID-19 transmission. Subgroup H will be frontliners in tourist zones while Subgroup I are for employees of manufacturing companies and public service providers.

Subgroup J covers economy workers including PUV drivers, conductors, pilots, waiters, restaurant managers, cashiers, bank tellers, teachers, and security guards.

The Health Department aims to release the updated testing guidelines by next week. DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the additional groups show the increasing testing capacity of the country.

“Alam natin na gusto na natin unti-unting buksan ang ating ekonomiya (We all know that we want to slowly open our economy) and this is part of how we will be opening our economy,” she said.

Vergeire, meanwhile, advised individuals who were exposed to COVID-19 positive patients to undergo isolation while waiting for their own test result.

“Even if the results are not out, they have to comply with the quarantine procedure of having to be isolated for 14 days,” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Number of int’l travelers in PH down by 95% since start of quarantine – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The number of international passengers who entered and exited the country since the start of the community quarantine dropped by at least 95% compared to figures recorded in the same period last year, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said passenger arrival volume from March 16 to June 30 decreased by more than 96% while departure declined by 95% due to suspension of international flights and imposition of travel restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We do not foresee these statistics to rise in the near future while the entire world is still fighting to defeat this coronavirus,” Morente said.

In the same statement, Immigration Deputy Spokesperson and BI National Operations Center (BINOC) acting chief Melvin Mabulac disclosed that only 189,000 passengers arrived from March 16 to June 30, which is a far cry from the more than 5.16 million passengers who arrived in the same period in 2019.

He also said that only 238,000 passengers left the country during the period compared to the 5.18 million who departed in that time last year.

Mabulac said the bulk of passengers arrived and departed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) because all other international ports were closed during the lockdown.

He said it was only in June that the government allowed international flights to resume at the Clark and Mactan airports.

“Also included in these figures are the more than 16,000 seafarers who disembarked after being quarantined aboard their vessels anchored at the Manila Bay,” Mabulac said.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.