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Gov’t braces for ‘shortage’ in quarantine hotels

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Authorities have come up with measures to prevent a possible shortage in quarantine hotels amid delays in flights of Filipinos returning from abroad to their hometowns.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who also chairs the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said the government added more hotels to the list of those that are designated for the mandatory quarantine of returning Filipinos.

“There is no shortage. We added more quarantine hotels,” Lorenzana told the Daily Tribune in a message.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD), he said, was collating the number of additional hotels.

In a memorandum, Lorenzana also tasked regional heads of the OCD, who also serve as NTF-COVID 19 chairpersons in their regions, to explain to local governments why some of their residents’ return are delayed and urge them to accept those people.

“The COVID-19 virus with its variants has affected more people nowadays including personnel from the airline industry. Local airlines carrying our OFWs from Manila and other entry points following their mandatory quarantine have practically reduced their number of flights due to lack of personnel,” he said.

Only two to three flights are now recorded daily, down from the 10 to 12 flights.

“As a result, these OFWs are placed on ‘extended quarantine’ in their respective hotels until their flights become available,” said Lorenzana.

Regional heads of the OCD should also explain to local governments the 72-hour lapse on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

Certificates that the Bureau of Quarantine issue would also include a statement on why the returning Filipinos holding them were placed on “extended quarantine,” Lorenzana said.

“Even with this, we are anticipating a shortage of quarantine hotels in Metro Manila. We hope that we won’t reach this situation,” he said.

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