DOTr releases guidelines on social distancing, community quarantine vs COVID-19 spread

community quarantine DOTrThe Department of Transportation (DOTr) has released its guidelines on the community quarantine and social distancing measures yesterday, 14 March 2020, following the earlier order of President Rodrigo Duterte to place the National Capital Region (NCR) under community quarantine to stop the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“We all have to bear the burden, carry personal inconveniences and sacrifices for the common good and our nation’s interest. These protocols are temporary. The deeper we cooperate and unselfishly carry our share, the faster we shall overcome!” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade stressed.

During the quarantine period, the aviation sector has announced that there will be no general aviation flights within Metro Manila.

As such, flights will be diverted to Sangley Airport in Cavite or to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

However, cargo flights; air ambulance and medical supplies; government/military flights; weather mitigation flights; and maintenance and utility flights will still be permitted.

For international flights, the aviation sector stressed that there will be special airport-to-airport trips arranged by the airlines in coordination with airport authorities.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will also encourage local airlines to operate sweeper flight/s out of Manila and into other airports.

The aviation sector will also implement the one (1) meter social distancing measure.

Signages reminding its stakeholders to observe proper social distancing will also be posted in strategic points.

Moreover, the sector adds, only passengers and essential personnel can enter and exit the airport terminals.

The rail sector meanwhile announced that trains will be loaded at reduced capacity to minimize the concentration of passengers per train.

Train station personnel will also regulate the entry of passengers into stations, and will implement measures for orderly and distanced queuing both inside and outside stations.

A passenger showing COVID-19 symptoms or having a body temperature of 38 degrees centigrade and above will be refused entry to the stations and trains.

This is pursuant to the guidelines imposed by the Department of Health (DOH).

The women’s and senior citizens section of train cars will be further separated, designating a subsection for senior citizens.

The rail sector added that PNR operations from Alabang to Calamba and vice versa will be suspended during the community quarantine period.

For the road sector, it has reminded Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), including airport taxis, to transport not more than four (4) passengers.

Multiple bookings for a single trip provided by the TNVS, and the pilot implementation of Motorcycle Taxis will be temporarily suspended, it added.

As for the UV Express, the road sector stressed that it should not have more than six (6) passengers;

while old units of Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs) should carry not more than half of their regular capacity;

and as for Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) compliant units (Class 2 and 3), they should not have more than half of the seating capacity, without standing passengers;

Public Utility Busses (PUBs), meanwhile, should not have more than 25 passengers, which includes the driver and conductor, and without any standing passenger.

The guideline further states that terminal operators will not allow any person to enter their premises if that person is showing any COVID-19 symptoms.

For all PUVs entering and exiting Metro Manila, drivers and conductors will have to request passengers to present one (1) valid ID (which indicates the address of work place, and residence) to comply with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Philippine National Police (PNP) procedures and protocols at all entry/exit points.

Meanwhile, Point-to-Point (P2P) buses from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Clark International Airport and Sangley Airport will be allowed to operate as scheduled.

For the maritime sector, crew members of cargo vessels originating from COVID-19 affected ports identified under relevant IATF Resolutions will be subjected to stringent quarantine procedures and will not be allowed to disembark. Passenger traffic in all ports going in and out of the National Capital Region (NCR) will be suspended during the period of community quarantine.

However, ferry services within the NCR will continue its operations provided that it will follow the 50% reduced capacity as prescribed by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

Ships normally plying routes within the NCR will be allowed to call at ports outside of the same on application for the issuance of a Special Permit with the MARINA during the period of the community quarantine.

The maritime sector meanwhile has assured that movement of cargo to and from the NCR will be unhampered.

All cargo trucks/vans going in and out of the Port of Manila shall secure a Cargo Entry/Withdrawal Permit (CEWP) from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), which shall be presented for validation at designated checkpoints. Meanwhile, there will be a “No Sail” policy for all vessels carrying passengers calling to and from any ports of Metro Manila except foreign ships subject to CIQS procedures and domestic cargo, fishing and government vessels subject to health screening pursuant to DOH advisories and guidelines.

The maritime sector adds that posting of materials regarding the observance of the one (1) meter social distancing measure in ports, terminals and onboard vessels and water craft will be in place.

There will be an establishment of entry and exit controls in ports and other maritime areas and waters as identified by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The DOTr also pointed out, that the policy will be subjected to daily review and revision, as necessary.