Tourists cut trip short amid looming Metro Manila lockdown
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - March 14, 2020 - 7:29pm

BORACAY, Philippines — Several tourists are adjusting their trip schedules after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the government would place Metro Manila under community quarantine starting Sunday.

The community quarantine, which would take place from March 15 to April 14, would be implemented to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

This would cover temporary travel restrictions in the Metro Manila.

An undated memorandum released to Palace media stated that departing passengers transiting through Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be allowed "provided that proof of confirmed international travel itinerary scheduled within 12 hours of entry" is presented at checkpoints.

It added that temporary travel ban to China, Hong Kong and Macau and parts of South Korea remain in place.

In view of this, some tourists who are currently in the country are cutting their trip short as they fear being locked out in the National Capital Region.

Carlos Enriquez, a Filipino from Los Angeles, United States who is currently on vacation in Boracay said he was prompted to cancel his trip because of the “lockdown.”

“We were about to go to Manila next week but we canceled all our travels because of the lockdown right now in Manila, so we’re going back early to the US this time,” he told Philstar.com.

Enriquez shared that he has been in Boracay before and after its closure. He said there are lesser tourists around this time compared to last year.

“There are a lot Filipino tourists around the area and some caucasians but lesser from Asia especially Chinese and Koreans maybe because of the COVID-19. We were so affected by that,” he said.

Another foreign tourist also on vacation in Boracay, John Loadsman from Australia, said he did not need to change flight schedule because his trip falls a day before the lockdown.

However, he said some of the tourists from his group were forced to change their schedules to avoid the Metro Manila lockdown.

“Many in our group did have to change (flights) but travel agents worked their magic and it all got done,” he said in an interview with Philstar.com.

Loadsman said they favor the lockdown imposed by Duterte.

“It’s a good thing. Just to be sure, [we] can’t have enough security and safety for everyone concerned. It is mindful for a passenger’s point of view,” the Australian tourist said.

“However, [in] the big picture, we think it’s very bright on the president’s behalf and we think it’s a good thing,” he added.

For its part, the Department of Tourism said it is ready to work with all the local government units and tourism stakeholders concerned "for the orderly implementation" of Duterte's directive.

BORACAY COMMUNITY QUARANTINE CORONAVIRUS DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM LOCKDOWN METRO MANILA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS TOURISM
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