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Air carriers urge shorter quarantine for vaccinated cabin crew with close contact

The Air Carrier Association of the Philippines asked the national government to consider cutting the quarantine period of fully-vaccinated cabin crew who had close contact with COVID-19 patients.

According to Bernadette Reyes' "24 Oras" report, several passengers are already stranded at airports for three days because of their canceled flights, which was caused by a lack of cabin crew who are under quarantine.

This prompted the airline associations to suggest shortening quarantine from seven to five days for fully-vaccinated cabin crew who are close contacts.

The Department of Transportation, National Task Force against COVID-19, and airline officials met to discuss this request. The airline officials were also required to submit quarantine protocols.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, for his part, said the request was made so that the commercial and government flights, as well as overseas Filipino workers' flights, would not be affected.

"The request was made so as not to hamper commercial and government flights, especially the transport of OFWs, and to avoid fewer flights that might also have an impact on the transport of medical supplies including vaccines to different provinces," said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

For Cebu Pacific management, they have no stranded passengers but they still recorded flight delays and on-the-spot flight suspensions.

"For passengers affected by on-the-spot cancellations, we accommodate them or transfer them to the next available flights. If the schedule doesn't work for them, we give them the options of rebooking, travel fund, and refund. We also provide meals and shuttle," Carmina Romero, Cebu Pacific spokesperson, also said.

For its part, the Air Asia management said it had enough cabin crew but noted that they would support the proposal to shorten the quarantine as long as there was a scientific basis.

Philippine Airlines, meanwhile, has yet to comment on the said request. — DVM, GMA News