SUSPENDED: DOT, IAFT Hold Leisure Travelers Flights Amid Delta Variant Scare
A deadly COVID-19 virus variant known as B.1.617.2 or the Delta variant managed to sneaked into the country despite the stringent measure that the government has imposed on incoming travelers. Last month, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 97 more Delta variant cases, prompting health officials to further beef up our already strict health and safety protocols.
According to a report published on Yale Medicine, the new strain spreads faster and easier and is deadlier than previously reported variants. Based on studies, the Delta variant emerged in India last December 2020 which proliferated rapidly all over the world.
As a precaution, President Rodrigo Duturte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to put NCR Plus and other cities on quarantine.
Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor/IMAGE from the Department of Tourism
Based on IATF Resolution No. 130-A, the National Capital Region (NCR) will be under stringent General Community Quarantine with Heightened Restrictions (GCQ-HR) from July 30 to August 5, 2021.
A two-week Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) beginning August 6 until August 20, 2021 will be then implemented in the metro.
TRAVEL NO MORE
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) released an official statement in support of GCQ-HR and ECQ in the coming days.
The DOT clarified that under the GCQ-HR, point-to-point (P2P) flights for leisure are suspended, effective immediately. Though returning flights are allowed for NCR Plus.
“DOT-accredited AEs may only accommodate those required to undergo quarantine, long stay guests as defined in DOT Administrative Order No. 2021-004-A, health and emergency frontline services personnel who need easy access to their place of work, and APORs who require accommodation pursuant to their official function or duty,” they said.
IMAGE from Philippine Airlines
They also added that Authorized Persons Outside their Residences (APORs) are the only ones allowed to go in and out of NCR Plus. However, staycationers in staycation hotels who originally booked before July 29, 2021 may continue to stay in their respective establishments until the last day of their original booking.
“Indoor tourist attractions may not operate, and staycations shall not be allowed. DOT-accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) outside of NCR Plus may no longer accept leisure guests from NCR Plus beginning today, regardless of the date of booking,” they added.
The DOT also urged tourism stakeholders, especially hotel operators, travel agencies, and airlines, to allow affected guests to rebook without charges.
“Mass gatherings, including social events and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (M.I.C.E), will continue to be prohibited. Dining in restaurant establishment premises shall not be allowed starting 01 August 2021,” they added.
At present, the National Task Force Vaccine Cluster is doing its best to vaccinate all tourism workers.
Source: Department of Tourism
Written by Cedie Salido