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  • Non-OFW Pinoys From Abroad Won't Be Allowed Entry In The Country Starting March 20

    Plus, minors 17 and below will be banned on Metro Manila’s streets starting today.
    by Johnna V. Giolagon .
Non-OFW Pinoys From Abroad Won't Be Allowed Entry In The Country Starting March 20
PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano
  • Reminder: Children aged 17 years and below are banned from going out of their homes and into Metro Manila streets as government officials scramble to stem the country’s rising number of COVID infections.

    The ban takes effect today and stays for at least two weeks.

    It was just a few weeks ago when it was announced that children were finally going out in the streets, especially to open areas like parks, as long as supervised by parents or guardians. Authorities justified it as giving the economy a boost and allow families to bond outside the home.

    Keeping the kids at home anew took effect simultaneously as Metro Manila mayors agreed to implement a capital-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. As of this writing, police have apprehended a total of 7,141 curfew violators – 1,843 arrested; 2,857 fined; 2,228 warned; while the rest were made to do community service.

    Here are the other latest news parents need to know today.

    PH gov’t limits daily OFW arrivals to 1,500

    The government has closed its border to travelers from outside, save for the entry of 1,500 migrant Filipino works each day.

    The suspension of inbound travel takes effect from March 20 until April 19. Filipino travelers who are not OFWs and non-Filipinos will have to wait until the ban is lifted to return to the country. 

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    [UPDATE as of March 19] The National Task Force Against COVID-19 has revised the rules: All Filipinos abroad can enter the Philippines. Read more here

    Philippine flag carrier Philippine Airlines has already announced the cancellation of some flights during this period.

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    Exemptions to the travel ban cover the following:

    • holders of 9 (e) visas
    • medical repatriation and their escorts duly endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
    • distressed returning overseas Filipinos duly endorsed by the DFA-OUMWA
    • emergency, humanitarian, and other cases as approved by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 

    Police warn vs groufie posts on social media

    Police are still monitoring social media posts for violations of COVID19 health and safety protocols.

    A post from the Sapian town police making the rounds on social media sites warned against flouting safety protocols like wearing face masks or social distancing and posting them on social media.

    Violators of COVID19 health and safety protocols will be punished under the law, the Sapian police warned.

    While the warning has since taken the post down, the directive for police to monitor social media for violators has not been withdrawn.

    “(It’s) intended (for) netizens as a way of encouraging them to help PNP (in the) enforcement of IATF Guidelines by reporting posts (showing) violations,” a statement from the Administrative Support for COVID-19 Task Force (ASCOTF) said in reply to media queries.

    The police created area-based Facebook accounts where locals can directly post photos of violations as an alternative to physically making a report at the police station.

    In one incident in Taguig, police responded to and made arrests resulting from a post showing a group of locals drinking and partying on the street.

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    More vaccines set for delivery by the 3rd quarter of 2021

    Manila expects a fresh batch of 2.3 million doses of COVID19 vaccines from the COVAX facility and China within the month, Sec Carlito Galvez announced in a televised meeting late Monday night.

    Some 400,000 doses of Sinovac from China are set for delivery by March 24. Around 1 million doses of AstraZeneca from COVAX are expected by the end of the month at the earliest or April at the latest.

    In April, the government expects the shipment of 2 million doses of Sinovac and another 2 million from Gamaleya.

    Galvez said, “The government is looking at gradual deliveries of vaccines of 8 million doses in May, 10 million doses in June, 15 million doses in July, and 20 million doses every month until December.”

    These initial deliveries are for the inoculation of the country’s 1.7 health workers in mid-April.

    “We are ensuring the public that your government is aggressively negotiating and working for us to stabilize the delivery of vaccines starting this second quarter because in the first part of this year, 80 percent of global vaccine supplies have already been cornered by rich countries,” Galvez said in a news release on Monday.

    As of mid-day March 16, a total of 215,997 health care workers have been given the initial dose of either AstraZeneca or Sinovac. The second dose will be sourced from the next batch of deliveries.

    The government hopes to begin the immunization of senior citizens, the indigent population, and other vulnerable sectors by the end of April or May. Its plan is to vaccinate all 70 million adult Filipinos.

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