354 Filipinos fly home from Dubai amid extended restrictions

Dubai: A total of 354 Filipinos were repatriated to the Philippines last evening by the Philippine Consulate.

They flew on a regular Philippine Airlines flight (PR659).

According to Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes, the tickets of 65 Filipino passengers were paid for by the Philippine Government from its Assistance to Nationals (ATN) fund.

Meanwhile, WAM quoted a Reuters report saying Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday extended  coronavirus-related restrictions in the capital, Manila, until mid-August and said the country would be given priority in supplies if China made a breakthrough with a vaccine.

The capital region, provinces south of it, and cities in the central Philippines have been under quarantine restrictions since June, limiting movements of the elderly and children, and the operations of businesses from restaurants to gyms.

“My plea is to endure some more. Many have been infected,” Duterte said in a televised address.

A coronavirus task force said it would impose lockdowns in areas with surging cases, while urging the government and private hospitals to increase bed capacity for COVID-19 patients.

Duterte promised free vaccinations if they became available by late this year, prioritising first the poor and then the middle class, police and military.

The Philippines would be given precedence by China in vaccine distribution, he said.

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