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âEscapedâ OFW found, tests positive for COVID-19
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported that the Sub-Task Group for the Repatriation of OFWs found the 49-year-old OFW at his home in Quezon City last Sunday and immediately took him to a COVID-19 treatment facility.
STAR/Edd Gumban, file

‘Escaped’ OFW found, tests positive for COVID-19

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An overseas Filipino worker (OFW), who escaped from a quarantine facility and was later found positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has been found and brought to a medical treatment facility.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported that the Sub-Task Group for the Repatriation of OFWs found the 49-year-old OFW at his home in Quezon City last Sunday and immediately took him to a COVID-19 treatment facility.

The OFW had been made to stay at a hotel accredited as a Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) facility in Pasay City. He violated the required 14-day quarantine period and stayed at the facility for five days only, from May 11 to May 15.

Once cleared of the virus infection, charges might be filed against the OFW for violating the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Members of his family, including persons he had personal contact with, were placed in isolation and are now undergoing COVID-19 RT-PCR testing.

In a statement, the PCG said eight OFWs were recorded to have escaped from their respective quarantine facilities, without first securing clearances from the concerned government agencies.

The eight OFWs who escaped their designated quarantine facilities were briefed on general quarantine protocols, underwent swab test, and signed an “Affidavit of Undertaking” that they voluntarily submitted themselves to mandatory quarantine and committed to comply with quarantine measures while waiting for the release of their swab test results and BOQ clearances.

PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo said, “The search operations for the seven other OFWs are ongoing. They shall be arrested and shall face charges for violating quarantine protocols and for compromising the health and safety of their families and communities.”

Reacting to news of the escape, the government said it will beef up security in quarantine facilities.

“I think there will be increased security in the different hotels that we are utilizing as quarantine areas,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing yesterday.

?He added that the incident would not have happened if there were more security personnel in the hotel.

By committing the careless action of escaping from their quarantine facilities, these repatriated OFWs placed their families and communities in danger, said Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) vice chairman Ruperto Santos.

The ECMI, the office under CBCP that is concerned with migration and care for OFWs, is reportedly saddened and discouraged by the news that an unknown number of repatriated OFWs broke out from these facilities.

“What they did was a very careless move and very irresponsible action. They just placed not only themselves at risk but the safety of their family and of the community are jeopardized. They are all now in danger,” said Bishop Santos.

He urged these escapees to present themselves to the authorities, and since they are COVID-19 carriers, they should immediately seek medical treatment.

“To correct the wrongdoing, please submit and present yourself for the treatment and to prevent further contamination. This will be for (the) best and safety of everybody, especially your families. Always think of the common good and well-being of your family, and of the community,” the Bataan bishop added. Alexis Romero

COVID-19 OFWS
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