Duterte asks local carriers, hotels to help boost PH tourism amid COVID-19 threat
Robie de Guzman • February 12, 2020 • 1074
MANILA, Philippines – Tourism industry stakeholders agreed to help boost domestic travel by offering discounted airfare and hotel rates following a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, Malacañang said.
Duterte called for the meeting to discuss plans to counter the negative effects of the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to promote the country’s tourism sector to local tourists.
The move comes after the Philippine government imposed a temporary entry ban on foreign nationals who travelled to virus-hit areas in China and its special administrative regions, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in the past 14 days in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.
Chinese and Taiwanese nationals, as well as South Koreans, are among the country’s top visitors.
Malacañang said that during the meeting, the president revealed that some of the country’s major airlines and hotels agreed to offer lower rates to make a viable market for local tourists.
“The President wants Filipinos to visit the country’s local tourist destinations to boost the industry in the midst of the coronavirus scare,” the Palace said in a press statement.
Duterte also said that local tourism industry has a lot to offer as he highlighted the country’s “good public health and law and order situation.”
“Local tourist spots are also readily accessible,” the Palace added.
The chief executive also expressed optimism that like other epidemics, the COVID-19 will eventually be contained, Malacañang said.
Among those who attended the meeting held in Pasay City were Philippine Hotel Owners Association President Arthur Lopez, AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo Isla, Philippine Airlines President Gilbert Santamaria, and Cebu Pacific Air President and CEO Lance Gokongwei.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato, Tourism Assistant Secretary Howard Lance Uyking and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go were also present.
In a press conference after the meeting, Romulo-Puyat revealed that Duterte will also help promote domestic travel by visiting top tourist destinations beginning next week.
She said the president may visit Boracay, Cebu and Bohol in a bid to prove that domestic travel remains safe amid novel coronavirus threat.
Romulo-Puyat also said that the tourism sector would intensify its promotions and roll out more value-added packages, discounted accommodation and airfare for local tourists in the coming days.
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reports that the total number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases is now at 283,460 as of 4:00 p.m. Saturday, September 19, 2020.
This, after 3,962 newly-confirmed cases were added to the list.
The DOH likewise announced 1,128 recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 209,885.
The health department’s latest bulletin showed that of the 3,962 reported cases today, 3,286 (83%) occurred within the recent 14 days (September 6 – September 19, 2020).
The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were the NCR with 1,199 (36%), Region 4A with 780 (24%) and Region 3 with 446 (14%).
Of the 100 deaths, 66 occurred in September (66%), 16 in August (16%) 7 in July (7%) 4 in June (4%) and 7 in April (7%).
Twenty-seven (27) duplicates were removed from the total case count. Of these, 15 were recovered cases, the report added. Another patient who recovered was verified to be a foreign national and was also removed from the total case count.
On the other hand, 17 cases which were previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths after final validation.
The department further reported that 10 laboratories were not able to submit their data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System (CDRS) on September 18, 2020. These laboratories are:
Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center
Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital
Kaiser Medical Center Inc.
Lanao del Norte Covid-19 Testing Laboratory
Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (GX)
Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (RT-PCR)
Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
Safeguard DNA Diagnostics
Taguig City Molecular Laboratory
Valenzuela Hope Molecular Laboratory
The DOH said the numbers they receive undergo constant cleaning and validation.— /mbmf
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday (US Eastern Time) reversed its controversial coronavirus testing guidance that said people who were exposed to an infected person but weren’t showing any symptoms “do not necessarily need a test.”
The new guidance says that people who have been in close contact with an infected person and do not have symptoms “need a test.”
“Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the CDC says.
The agency defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of a person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes.
The CDC guidance reversal followed criticisms from public health specialists on the agency’s change in testing guidance in August that seemed to downplay the significance of testing people who don’t have symptoms but could be spreading the virus.
The new guidance also advised people who are waiting for their test results to “self-quarantine/isolate at home and stay separated from household members to the extent possible and use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.”
The CDC also reiterated its recommendations to follow “measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and to protect people at increased risk of severe illness: social distancing, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, avoiding crowds, avoiding indoor crowded spaces, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently.” —/mbmf
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has decided that the one-meter distance between passengers in public transport must be observed, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced Saturday.
“Mananatili po ang one-meter distancing sa pampublikong transportasyon,” Roque said through state-run PTV4.
He added though that talking inside public transport vehicles is still not allowed and that the minimum health protocol such as wearing of face masks and face shields shall remain.
“Sasamahan din ng pagsuot ng face mask at face shield,” he said. “Bawal ang magsalita sa mga pampublikong transportasyon.”
The Palace spokesperson said the president made the decision on Friday night amid opposing opinions of medical experts on the matter..
The Department of Transportation has allowed the public transport system in the country to implement a “reduced physical distancing” policy starting Monday, September 14.
From the previous one-meter physical distancing marker between passengers, it was reduced to .75-meter safe distance.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) said it approved the proposal to provide service to the increasing number of passengers brought about by the reopening of more businesses.
The proposal provide for a further reduction of physical distancing to 0.5 meters after two weeks, and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks.
A panel of doctors has expressed support for the gradual reduction of physical distancing inside public transportation vehicles.
The medical experts, which include former Department of Health Secretaries Manuel Dayrit and Esperanza Cabral, said that while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends keeping a distance of one meter from other passengers to the extent possible, “it allows for adjustments based on context.”
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, however, said the DOTr released the operational guidelines on reduced physical distancing in public transport without consulting health experts and the Metro Manila local government units. — /mbmf
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