Manila, March 26 -- At least 58 stranded tourists were flown out of Tacloban Airport to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila on Wednesday.
The tourists were stranded in Eastern Visayas after the national government placed the Luzon Island under enhanced community quarantine on March 17. The lockdown limits the movement of people going in and out of the region.
The stranded visitors are among the 7,915 tourists in the country assisted through sweeper flights to NAIA and Clark International Airport through Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and Air Swift.
The tourists flew out of the city past 10 a.m. via Cebu Pacific. The sweeper flight is a joint program of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The stranded tourists stayed in Mondragon and Catarman in Northern Samar; Daram, Zumarraga, Sta Margarita, Calbayog City, and Catbalogan City in Samar; Dolores, San Julian, and Llorente in Eastern Samar; Tolosa, Burauen, Tabon-tabon, Sta Fe, Abuyog, Alangalang, Hilongos and Tacloban City in Leyte.
"There are still foreign tourists left in the region, but so far that is the only sweeper flights provided to us by the central office," said DOT regional director Karina Rosa Tiopes.
"They fall under the exemption of entry prohibition in Metro Manila, " she said.
Before boarding their flight, tourists were instructed to follow the health department's coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) protocol, which includes body temperature check and disinfection or sanitizing procedure.
As of March 24, the tourism department recorded at least 10,300 tourists mostly foreigners affected by the community quarantine.