BI-NAIA personnel told to wear PPE when attending to special flights

PERSONNEL of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were instructed to always wear complete personal protective equipment (PPE) when attending to special flights that have been ferrying in and out of the country passengers who got stranded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was learned from BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval that the reminder was issued amid the upsurge of repatriation and sweeper flights arriving and departing at the NAIA in the past several days, which stressed the importance of being protected against the virus.

The bureau is anticipating a tremendous surge in passenger volume at the NAIA and other international airports and seaports after the government decide to lift the enhanced community quarantine, so that measures to ensure the health and safety of BI frontliners need to be implemented.

In compliance with the directive, BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said he had already issued a memorandum telling immigration officers attending special flights should wear PPEs, including face masks, face shields and gloves.

“They were also reminded to always practice physical and social distancing and avoid close contact with passengers,” Medina said.

To ensure that risks are lessened, Medina said that repatriated passengers are processed from a distance by Immigration officers. Passports and travel documents are also being sanitized by airline representatives before processing.

He added that the BI officers were told to wash their hands with soap and alcohol after attending to the special flights and before returning to their counter duties.

Medina said wearing of PPEs is especially critical whenever BI officers process passengers of repatriation flights from countries with high number of COVID-19 cases.