CAB to impose 14-day quarantine on Pinoys, Permanent Resident Visa holders coming from China

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 3, 2020   •   782

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) will impose a 14-day quarantine on Filipinos and permanent resident visa holders coming from China and its Special Administrative Regions – Macao and Hong Kong.

This is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to all airlines operating to and from the Philippines.

1. Temporary banning entry into the Philippines of any person regardless of nationality, except Filipino citizens and holders of Permanent Resident Visas issued by the Philippine Government directly coming from China or its Special Administrative Regions;

2. Temporary banning entry into the Philippines of any person regardless of nationality, except Filipino citizens and holders of Permanent Resident Visas issued by the Philippine Government, who within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, has been to China or its Special Administrative Regions;

3. Temporary ban on Filipinos from travel to China or its Special Administrative Regions.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro tested again for novel coronavirus

UNTV News   •   July 7, 2020

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday (July 6) he had undergone another test for the novel coronavirus, after local media reported he had symptoms associated with the COVID-19 respiratory disease, including a fever.

Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace that he had just visited the hospital and been tested for the virus, adding that an exam had shown his lungs “clean.”

CNN Brasil and newspaper Estado de S.Paulo reported that he had symptoms of the disease, such as a fever. The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the impact of the virus, even as Brazil has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks, with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and 65,000 related deaths, according to official data on Monday.

The right-wing populist has often defied local guidelines to wear a mask in public, even after a judge ordered him to do so in late June.

Over the weekend, Bolsonaro attended multiple events and was in close contact with the U.S. ambassador to Brazil during July 4 celebrations. The U.S. embassy in Brasilia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolsonaro previously tested negative for the coronavirus after several aides were diagnosed following a visit to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate in March. (Reuters)

(Production: Leonardo Benassatto, Paul Vieira)

Singapore’s migrant workers fear financial ruin after virus ordeal

UNTV News   •   June 9, 2020

As Sharif Uddin begins to dream about leaving the cramped Singapore dormitory where he has spent weeks under coronavirus quarantine, fears about his future are creeping in.

The 42-year-old Bangladeshi construction site supervisor is one of the thousands of low-income migrant workers trapped in packed bunk rooms that have been ravaged by the coronavirus, accounting for more than 90% of Singapore’s 38,000 infections.

As Singapore began easing its lockdown measures this month, migrants like Uddin started to think about returning to the outside world, bringing to the surface worries about jobs and debts as Singapore braces for its deepest-ever recession.

“The fear of losing jobs is worrying everyone at the moment,” said Uddin, who sends the bulk of his wages to his family in Bangladesh, like many of the South Asians working in manual jobs in Singapore.

For most migrant workers, at least part of their salaries is used to pay off the steep fees of the agent who helped procure the job.

Reuters has interviewed over a dozen migrant workers in Singapore in recent weeks. While many said they were still being paid, they were unsure if they will retain their jobs when the quarantine is lifted.

The Singapore government has given companies tax breaks to try and ensure migrants get paid while under quarantine and introduced measures to help laid off workers find new positions without having to first travel back to their home country, a core complaint of many labourers.

Lawrence Wong, the co-head of Singapore’s virus task force, told Reuters that the government had taken steps to help alleviate the concerns of workers around job security, but added that layoffs were possible given the grim economic outlook.

“There may be some contractors who might decide – well despite all the government measures, with the new arrangements, the new additional requirements in construction, it is very difficult and I might not want to continue in this industry – and then indeed they might release some of their workers,” said Wong, who is also the minister for national development.

He added that some workers may remain quarantined in their dormitories until August, or possibly beyond, as the government completes mass testing.

The pandemic has drawn attention to the stark inequalities in the modern city-state where more than 300,000 labourers from Bangladesh, India and China often live in rooms for 12 to 20 men, working jobs that pay as little as S$20 ($14.30) a day.

That is higher than they would make at home. But the median salary for Singaporeans in 2019 was S$4,563 per month, according to the manpower ministry.

The bigger worry for many migrants like Uddin is the debts they have racked up securing jobs in Singapore.

Migrants will usually be charged S$7,000-10,000 in fees by a recruitment agent in their home country, equivalent to more than a year of their basic salary, according to rights groups. If they lose their job, this debt could haunt their families for years.

“An indebted worker is a more compliant worker and that is what the employers like. That is one reason too that employers prefer to have new workers, than to retain old workers,” said Deborah Fordyce, president of Singapore NGO Transient Workers Count Too.

Wong, the minister, said the government will continue to work to improve migrants’ lives in Singapore, but tackling issues like fees is difficult because many agents operate in the workers’ home countries outside the city-state’s jurisdiction.

Singapore’s government has pledged to improve living conditions for migrant workers in the short-term and build new, higher-spec dormitories over the coming years. (Reuters)

(Production: Pedja Stanisic, Joseph Campbell, Edgar Su, Travis Teo)

CAB halts domestic flights in first week of GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has suspended the operation of all domestic flights previously scheduled for the first week of June.

The agency made it clear in a memorandum that it has not approved any domestic air flights set for the first week of the relaxed restrictions under the general community quarantine 

The Civil Aeronautics Board ordered all airline companies to cancel all of their scheduled flights for this week and temporarily stop selling plane tickets. 

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque announced that flight schedules are being reviewed.

He also assured that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will issue guidelines on the matter soon. 

“Theoretically po, ang lahat ng flights ng GCQ to GCQ ay papayagan na, [Theoretically, GCQ to GCQ flights are already allowed],” Roque said.

“Pero aantayin po natin ang CAAP na sila po ang mag-provide ng guidelines at kinakailangan din ng panahon ng ating mga airline companies para maghanda po sa resumption ng kanilang operations, [However, we need to wait for CAAP to provide the guidelines and airline companies also need time to prepare for the resumption of their operations],” he added.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has yet to identify which terminals will reopen. 

Meanwhile, several airline companies have already submitted their respective flight schedules to MIAA and CAAP for review. 

The Philippine Airlines (PAL) has previously announced the resumption of operations for both international and local flights though the company also advised its clients of possible changes depending on the situation relative to the existing quarantine restrictions. 

Cebu Pacific was supposed to resume domestic flights on June 2 and Air Asia on June 3.

International flights are now operating at NAIA Terminal 1 limited to only 400 passengers daily capacity based on the IATF order.

Meanwhile, Terminal 2 only caters to repatriation, sweeper flights and commercial flights by PAL. 

Terminal 3, on the other hand, will serve as a flight station for Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. 

Terminal 4, still remains closed. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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