OFWs, foreign nationals now allowed to fly out of PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18) — Overseas Filipino workers and foreign nationals are now allowed to leave the country anytime within the duration of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

Executive Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a press briefing of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Tuesday night that OFWs and foreigners are now permitted to fly out of the country. He added that Filipino tourists are not allowed to leave the country. 

“Dahil ayaw natin bigyan ng pressure silang lahat dahil mas mahirap para sa kanila, in-open up na natin. Wala na ‘yong 72 hours,” Nograles said.

[Translation: Because we do not want them to be pressured and have a hard time, we already opened it up. The 72-hour window is disregarded.]

The government previously gave a 72-hour window to all outbound international flights, which was supposedly only until Friday.

However, Nograles said that the IATF reevaluated their decision hence the new advice. This is in consideration of the OFWs who need to go back to their employers abroad, according to him.

Inbound international passengers are also allowed entry, subject to strict immigration and quarantine protocols.

Apart from Luzon being under an “enhanced community quarantine,” President Rodrigo Duterte has also placed the entire country under a state of calamity Tuesday amid the coronavirus disease pandemic.

According to the Health Department, four more hospitals will start testing for COVID-19 starting this week and more testing kits are coming.