MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday reported that a total of 19,466 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been repatriated since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Of the number, some 15,130 are seafarers from 75 cruise ships while the remaining 4,336 are land-based OFWs.
“Marami pa pong parating in the next few days. Uuwi pa ang libo-libo nating kababayan galing sa ibang bansa (Many more are arriving in the coming days. Thousands of our compatriots will come home from other countries),” DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said during the Laging Handa briefing.
All OFWs had been required to undergo a 14-day facility quarantine.
Dulay said seafarers who had undergone the required quarantine period on cruise ships where no passenger or crew member has contracted Covid-19 would be allowed to go home directly.
“Iyon pong ating mga seafarers na nandoon sa cruise ship at nakapag-quarantine na at malinis ang cruise ships, ang tawag nila ‘malinis’, ibig sabihin niyan ay ‘di nabahiran ng kahit na anong impeksiyon ng Covid – – pasahero man o crew member – – ito po ay puwede nang maging 14-day quarantine nila sa laot para pagdating dito ay puwede na silang tumuloy sa kanilang probinsiya at bahay (Our seafarers who were quarantined on a cruise ship and the ship is deemed ‘clean’ – clean, meaning no passenger or crew member was infected by Covid-19 – their 14-day quarantine at sea can be considered so that they would be able to go home to their province and houses),” he said.
Meanwhile, Dulay noted that land-based OFWs would be referred to a quarantine facility upon arrival.
Although some cruise ships carrying repatriates have docked in the Philippines, no Filipino crew onboard has disembarked yet, the DFA said in a separate statement.
“None of the Filipino crew ha(s) disembarked because all of them are undergoing (a) two-week quarantine. After the quarantine, all will be given Covid tests,” DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said. (PNA)