Airline, ship passengers must show medical clearance -- Eleazar

JOINT Task Force COVID Shield commander Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Sunday said he has ordered his troops to strictly implement a government policy that requires all domestic passengers of commercial ships and airlines to produce a Medical Clearance Certificate (MCC) before they are allowed to board.

The official said that the move is additional measure to prevent the spread of the unseen killer virus “This will not only ensure the safety of all the ship and airline passengers but also to harmonize with the health safety protocols being implemented by the Local Government Units (LGUs) for the security of their respective constituents from the coronavirus that might be transmitted by the arriving travelers,” he added.

The official earlier held a teleconference meeting with airline industry stakeholders, government security agencies for sea and air travels, and representatives of the LGUs who initiated the discussion on MCC as a requirement for all domestic sea and air travels.

He said that the JTF COVID Shield is now coordinating with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) the strict implementation of the new policy in coordination with the PNP Aviation Security Group and NAIA authorities for air travels and the Philippine Coast Guard for sea travels.

“The MCC for travelers is the one of the minimum health safety protocols that we have to continuously observe for the safety of everybody because as we have been saying even before, the threat of coronavirus infection is still high,” said Eleazar.

“We have to require the MCC for the peace of mind not only of all the ship and airline passengers but also of the local government officials and their constituents of the travelers’ points of destination across the country,” he added.

Based on the guideline, Locally Stranded Individuals (LSI) and Emergency Travelers (ET) have to secure a Travel Authority approved and issued by the local police chiefs and station commanders.

In applying for a Travel Authority at the Help Desks of all police stations, a Medical Clearance Certificate issued by the City or Municipal Health Office of the LGU-origin of the travelers must be submitted, and coordination with the receiving LGU is needed.

The ‘No MCC, No Boarding’ policy covers even those classified under the Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) whose domestic travers are allowed if they are work-related.

Obtaining a Medical Clearance Certificate, however, was made easy for APOR since aside from the City and Municipal Health Office, they can get it from the accredited hospitals and clinics of the Department of Health.

Eleazar said that the Medical Clearance Certificate serves as a good first layer of defense against the spread of the coronavirus since the health condition of the travelers are thoroughly screened before they allowed to go out.

Since there were cases wherein the virus carrier is asymptomatic, the official said the medical checkup that would be conducted by the Municipal and City Health Office would be an assurance that a person is safe and fit to travel.

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander said that the Medical Clearance Certificate is a big help for the LGU-destination in implementing their respective local quarantine protocols for persons arriving in airports and seaports in their areas.