More than 16,000 OFWs sent home after testing negative for COVID-19

More than 16,000 OFWs sent home after testing negative for COVID-19

More than 16,000 overseas Filipino workers have returned to their homes following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to fast-track their release from quarantine facilities.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave this update during an online media briefing on Thursday, citing data from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Roque stressed that all 16,000 OFWs tested negative for coronavirus infection using RT-PCR or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction tests, which are considered the “gold standard” in detecting COVID-19.

Meron po tayong tatlong flights na nakaschedule kaninang umaga papuntang (We have three flights scheduled this morning for) Davao, Dumaguete, Puerto Princesa,” Roque said, adding that more flights, two ships, and over a hundred buses are scheduled to transport the remaining OFWs.

Early this week, Duterte ordered the departments of labor and health and OWWA to process the documents of OFWs and seafarers who are stuck in Metro Manila waiting for the delayed release of their COVID-19 test results and certification.

The ultimatum was in response to complaints that several OFWs have been stuck in quarantine facilities for up to two months, waiting for clearance to go home.

Filipinos returning from other countries are required to undergo 14-day quarantine and secure certification that they are negative for COVID-19, before they can reunite with their families.

Roque said they can request and download certification through the website

The country saw a spike in new COVID-19 cases over the last two days, reporting 350 more infections on Tuesday and 380 additional patients on Wednesday — the highest single-day increase since the 414 additional cases last April 6.

The Department of Health called it an “artifical rise,” since it included results from the swab tests on OFWS who just returned to the country. The agency has yet to provide the number of OFWs who tested positive for COVID-19.— Source: Eimor Santos, CNN Philippines

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