Philippines loosens lockdown rules to let Filipino seafarers return

MANILA (XINHUA) – The Philippine government has issued a new resolution allowing foreign cruise ships carrying Filipino crewmen to dock in Manila amid a lockdown to curb the spread COVID-19, a government official said yesterday.

In a virtual media briefing, spokesperson for the inter-agency task force that oversees the implementation of government response to combat COVID-19 Karlo Nograles said “foreign cruise ships carrying Filipino crew shall be allowed to dock in ports in Manila and to be used as a quarantine facility for said Filipino crew members.”

According to Nograles, the foreign crew onboard the foreign cruise ships “shall be allowed to disembark in Manila for the sole purpose of taking outbound flights to their final destination abroad.” He further said that the foreign crew will be allowed to leave the country provided they have completed the fourteen-day mandatory quarantine upon disembarkation.

In January, the Philippines temporarily stopped accepting cruise ships following the spread of COVID-19.

In the same briefing, Nograles also said that two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ships that were converted into quarantine facilities have already begun operations.

“The PCG kicked off the operations of the quarantine ships by welcoming 90 repatriated Filipino seafarers from South Korea, Indonesia, and Qatar on Tuesday,” he said.