$1B loan to combat COVID-19 sought

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The Philippine government is eyeing a $1 billion loan to address the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Secretary Carlos Domingo III said the government is currently negotiating the terms of the $1 billion loan. The amount which is roughly P51 billion will be on top of the P27.1 billion package earmarked against the coronavirus.

The government already secured a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Bank for the acquisition of emergency medical supplies and delivery of health care services.

Another $100 million loan was extended to the country by the World Bank for the acquisition of personal protective equipment for health care workers, testing and laboratory materials, quarantine areas, isolation rooms, etc.

The COVID-19 pandemic had caused economic disruptions worldwide and is expected to affect economic growth as the government declared a state of calamity in the country.

All airports in the Luzon Island will continue accepting international flights as the government lifted the 72-hour window time that will closed all international gateways.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Tuesday has decided to allow international flights to proceed, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The government will now all nationalities except for Filipino tourists to fly out of the country anytime. This as thousands of foreign tourists in the country are still preparing the flight plans.

With the lifting of the planned ban on all flights, foreign tourists and Filipinos bound overseas can now proceed with their travel plans.

The DOTr said only one person is allowed to bring a passenger to the airport and he/she must depart immediately after dropping off the passenger.

“The driver should carry with him/her a copy of the airline ticket of the passenger as proof of conveyance,” according to the DOTr.

The DOTr said incoming passengers of international flights will be allowed enter the country but will undergo strict immigration and quarantine protocols.

Passengers coming from Italy and Iran both of which have a high incidence of COVID-19, medical certificates of good health validated by their respective embassies are required before being allowed entry.

At the Clark International Airport, domestic flights will be suspended on March 20, according to spokeswomen Teri Flores of the Luzon International Premier Airport Development Corporation.