PH announces entry ban of all UK flights starting Dec. 24

Marje Pelayo   •   December 23, 2020   •   648

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte approved on Tuesday night (December 22) the temporary suspension of all flights from the United Kingdom (UK) starting December 24 until December 31.

This is to prevent the entry of a new strain of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) currently affecting residents in the southeast part of England.

According to the Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, all passengers who have been in the UK within 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines, including those merely in transit, are also temporarily restricted from entering the country for the same period.

Meanwhile, passengers already in transit from the UK and all those who have been to the UK within 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines, who arrive before 12:01AM of December 24, shall not be subject to entry restriction.

However, they would be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols. 

Such protocols include the observation of an absolute 14-day quarantine period at the Athlete’s Village in the New Clark City, Pampanga, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCT test result.

Outbound travel to the UK shall likewise be subject to the existing exit protocols of the Philippines and the UK.

PAL warns passengers vs. traveling with fake COVID-19 test results

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has reminded passengers to secure authentic COVID-19 test results from legitimate medical providers, warning that using fraudulent ones may land them in jail.

PAL issued the reminder after it prevented the boarding of at least 15 individuals who presented fake COVID-19 test results at airport check-in counters.

In a statement, PAL said the passengers caught with falsified test results in Manila were bound for Cotabato, Dipolog, and Zamboanga.

They have been turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the airline company said.

Most of the apprehended passengers were referred for an inquest at the city prosecutor’s office, while others have been isolated at quarantine facilities pending their real swab test results.

“The police said they will be charged with falsification of public documents and violation of RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act,” the airline said.

“If found guilty, they may each face penalties of up to ₱50,000 or imprisonment for one to six months,” it added.

RT-PCR or antigen COVID-19 test results are required for travel to ensure that no virus transmission will occur in flights and in their destinations.

“Safe travel is always the paramount concern, and airlines and authorities are vigilant in not accepting travelers holding fake RT-PCR or Antigen test results, for everybody’s protection,” PAL said.

Gatchalian opposes calls for nationwide academic break amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday expressed disagreement with proposals to implement a nationwide academic break amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the decision for such measure should come from basic education and higher education institutions.

In a statement, Gatchalian said poor and vulnerable learners will only be left behind due to additional disruptions that the nationwide academic break will bring.

He also said that prolonged school closures may result in learning loss, widening inequalities, and increased exposure to violence, among others.

“I don’t agree with the call to implement a nationwide academic break. Iba-iba naman ang quarantine qualification at may mga lugar na walang lockdown. Mahirap naman pong mag-academic freeze sa isang lugar na walang kaso ng COVID-19. Kaya hindi pwede itong academic freeze para sa pangkalahatan dahil iba-iba ang sitwasyon,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education.

“Sa basic education, isang taon nang hindi nagpupunta sa mga eskwelahan ang mga bata at kapag sila ay patuloy na bibigyan ng break at hindi sila mag-aaral, talagang makakalimutan na nila ang kanilang pinag-aralan,” he added.

The senator pointed out that in Isabela, which is currently under general community quarantine, the Department of Education (DepEd) suspended the distribution and retrieval of self-learning modules and other face-to-face activities after five DepEd personnel recently died due to COVID-19.

Teachers in the division, however, are expected to remotely continue their follow-ups and monitoring of learners, according to Gatchalian.

Meanwhile, some colleges and universities in the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna – called ‘NCR Plus’ – already suspended classes or implemented academic ease measures due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. These include the University of Santo Tomas, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Cavite State University, and De La Salle University.

While the NCR Plus is now under modified enhanced community quarantine until the end of the month, Gatchalian pointed out that most of the country is under general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine, where the implementation of distance or flexible learning can still continue.


Philippine Orthopedic Center expects return of 20 doctors after full recovery from COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) is expecting 20 doctors to return to duty on Wednesday (April 14) after recovering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a text message to UNTV, POC Officer-In-Charge Michael Bengzon said all 20 doctors just need to get clearances from their respective local government units (LGUs) to be able to return to work although some of them need repeat tests.

With this development, the Orthopedic Center will restart its elective surgery service that was postponed during the Center’s imposed lockdown.

However, it will be a soft opening limited to 30% to 50% only while the Center observes COVID-19 positivity rate and replication or the number of people a COVID positive can infect within their premises.

Bengzon added, however, that the Center’s Out-Patient Department will remain closed.

“[Out-Patient Department] will still be closed as infection rate can easily increase,” he said.

Patients may address their concerns through the Center’s teleconsultation service.

The Center reported that more than 140 of its personnel have been infected with COVID-19, 70 of whom are doctors and nurses.


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