COVID-19 timeout: DOT okays staycations as Metro Manila, nearby areas form bubble


Posted at Mar 22 2021 07:38 AM | Updated as of Mar 22 2021 08:56 AM

COVID-19 timeout: DOT okays staycations as Metro Manila, nearby areas form bubble 1
A limited number of passengers fly out at the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City at the start of a long weekend, December 30, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Tourists from Metro Manila and the 4 nearby provinces within its bubble may rebook without fees their planned vacations for the Holy Week, the Department of Tourism said Monday.

Staycation with age restrictions is also allowed within the capital region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, said Tourism Secretary Bernadette-Romulo Puyat.

Those aged below 15 and above 65 are prohibited from staycations, she added.

"Nakausap ko na ang lahat ng airlines, sinabi naman nila pwede mag-rebook nang walang penalty, ang hotel and restaurant associations, pwede magrebook nang walang penalty," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(I've talked to all airlines, hotel and restaurant associations, they said rebooking is allowed without penalty.)

Romulo-Puyat said doctors and health experts had advised the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 to restrict movement in the virus epicenter and nearby provinces for2 weeks as virus cases surged.

"Humingi ang mga doktor kung puwede timeout muna. Nakakalungkot pero syempre kailangan mapagbigyan ang mga doktor," she said.

(Doctors asked for a timeout. It's saddening but of course we have to give them this.)

"Sabi naman nila 2 weeks lang pero nakakalungkot kasi bumubuwelo na tayo, Holy Week madaming aalis."

(They said it was only for 2 weeks. It was saddening because we were bracing for this, many would have traveled for Holy Week.)

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the capital region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under general community quarantine with additional restrictions to curb virus spread.

The Philippines on Sunday tallied 7,757 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 663,794.

The country could reach 10,000 daily new cases by the end of the month, half likely to be recorded in Metro Manila, if the current daily trend continues, independent research group OCTA earlier warned.

Hospitals in Metro Manila are projected to reach full capacity by Holy Week if the government fails to slow down COVID-19 transmission, OCTA added.

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