MANILA — The repatriation of stranded French nationals in the Philippines is ongoing, the Embassy of France in the Philippines confirmed Tuesday.
“The flight tonight is actually a special Qatar Airways flight initiated and negotiated by the French government. It leaves Cebu tonight at 10:30 p.m., then it will fly to Manila and depart for France at 1:15 am,” French Embassy in Manila Press Attaché Camille Eva Marie Conde told the Philippine News Agency.
The special flight is part of the repatriation efforts of the French government for its nationals who have been stranded due to travel restrictions imposed by host countries in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“(There’s) no news yet if there would be a second plane coming in the next days, but we’ll be announcing if ever,” she said.
As of posting, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said there are at least 2,912 stranded tourists in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Around 10,334 people have already been assisted via sweeper flights from various destinations to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Clark International Airport.
At least four sweeper flights will fly out of Boracay Island over the weekend, with two more scheduled on Thursday, March 26.
Additional sweeper flights will also fly out of Iloilo, Tacloban and Cagayan de Oro on March 25 while three sweeper flights are set to leave from Davao and Puerto Princesa on March 26.
European Union Delegation to the Philippines Chargé d’affaires Thomas Wiersing earlier reported that foreign tourists are being turned away by some hotels once their bookings end. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. immediately threatened to “blacklist” concerned hotels. (PNA)