NTF: No foreigners, non-OFW Filipinos into the Philippines from March 20 to April 19

NTF: No foreigners, non-OFW Filipinos into the Philippines from March 20 to April 19
An international airline ground staff wearing protective gear works at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020.
AFP / Ted Aljibe, file

MANILA, Philippines (Corrected 1 p.m., March 17)— The National Task Force Against COVID-19 is restricting travel into the Philippines from March 20 to April 19 in response to rising COVID-19 cases in recent days.

According to a memorandum circular signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the country will suspend the entry of foreigners and "Returning Overseas Filipinos who are non-OFWs" except for the following:

  • Holders of 9(C) visas (seafarers)
  • Medical repatriation and their escorts endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
  • Distressed ROFs endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs
  • Emergency and humanitarian cases

The NTF memo cites the 5,404 new COVID-19 cases recorded on Monday and Department of Health data showing cases of the B.1.1.7 variant—18 out of 59—and the B1.351 variant—1 of 32 cases—among ROFs.

One case of the P.1 variant has also been confirmed in an ROF from Brazil, the memo said.

Aside from the temporary suspension of entry, the memo also limits the number of inbound international passengers to 1,500 a day.  

The Civil Aeronautics Board announced the cap on arrivals earlier Tuesday, saying only arrivals into the Ninoy Aquino International Airport would be limited to 1,500 a day. passengers 

The cap was initially supposed to run from March 18 to April 18. "Airlines operating in NAIA that will exceed the allowed capacity will be meted with the appropriate penalty," CAB said.

(Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the P.1 variant was first detected in Brazil and not the Philippines as earlier reported. The variant first detected in the Philippines is P.3. We regret the error.)

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 5, 2023 - 6:04pm

Find the latest travel and tourism news from around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. Main image by AFP/Romeo Gacad

June 5, 2023 - 6:04pm

Airlines will fly 4.35 billion passengers this year, close to the 2019 record as the industry bounces back from the Covid pandemic, an industry group said on Monday.

The sector will also be back in the green, with net profits forecast to reach $9.8 billion in 2023, or double previous estimates, boosted by the end of China's Covid restrictions, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The association added that its 2022 losses were half as bad as previously estimated at $3.6 billion.

"Airline financial performance in 2023 is beating expectations," IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement during the association's annual general meeting in Istanbul.

"Stronger profitability is supported by several positive developments. China lifted Covid-19 restrictions earlier in the year than anticipated," Walsh said. — AFP

March 8, 2023 - 1:04pm

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific reports its first annual operating profit since 2019 as the airline fights to return to pre-pandemic flight capacity.

"Cathay Pacific has experienced three challenging years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with 2022 very much being a year of two halves," chairman Patrick Healy says in a statement announcing the results.. 

Cathay is still trailing regional rivals such as Singapore Airlines, with Hong Kong's axing of harsh pandemic curbs -- including mandatory hotel quarantine and strict testing requirements -- only beginning in the fall of last year.

The airline operated at one-third of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity in December but expects to reach 70% of that figure by the end of 2023, the company says. — AFP

March 3, 2023 - 3:28pm

German airline giant Lufthansa says Friday it returned to annual profit in 2022 after two years of losses, its fortunes lifted by rebounding demand as economies reopened after COVID-19 shutdowns.

The group reported a net profit of 791 million euros ($839 million) for last year. This compares to a net loss of 2.2 billion euros in 2021 and 6.7 billion euros in 2020.

"Lufthansa is back," says the company's CEO Carsten Spohr. — AFP

March 1, 2023 - 5:58pm

People hoping to take advantage of a Hong Kong scheme to give away half a million free airline tickets face hours-long online queues on Wednesday, as the Asian financial hub bids to woo tourists back.

The city last month launched a campaign to reboot its reputation as "Asia's world city", after years of strict pandemic-related travel restrictions and a crackdown on sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong became one of the last places in the world to drop its outdoor mask mandate, which city leader John Lee said was a sign that it was "resuming normalcy". — AFP

February 23, 2023 - 10:36am

Australian airline Qantas says Thursday it bounced back into profit in late 2022, hailing a "huge turnaround" after swallowing massive losses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national carrier posted a second-half profit of Aus$1.43 billion (US$974 million) before tax, after accumulating Aus$7 billion in losses across the previous three years.

Chief executive Alan Joyce says surging demand for flights had boosted the company's fortunes while announcing a plan to buy back Aus$500 million in Qantas shares. — AFP 

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