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500 OFWs test positive for COVID; 14,669 cleared
The 14,669 who tested negative for COVID-19 were issued a quarantine clearance and started going home as of yesterday afternoon. These include the 44 seafarers who completed the 14-day mandatory quarantine at a facility in Tondo, Manila.
STAR/ Edd Gumban, file

500 OFWs test positive for COVID; 14,669 cleared

Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More than 500 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 while 14,669 have been cleared of COVID-19 and are set to go home this month, an official said yesterday.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo said the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) brought the positive OFWs to available isolation or treatment facilities.

The 14,669 who tested negative for COVID-19 were issued a quarantine clearance and started going home as of yesterday afternoon. These include the 44 seafarers who completed the 14-day mandatory quarantine at a facility in Tondo, Manila.

Balilo reported that the Philippine Red Cross has processed the tests of 23,000 of the total 31,330 OFWs who underwent the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test as of May 20.

He added that the group is also working on the test results of around 8,000 who have tested negative for COVID-19 but are still waiting for their quarantine clearances and on the 7,000 samples that are still up for analysis.

Under the guidelines of the Sub-Task Group for the Repatriation of OFWs, of which the PCG is a member, the OFWs are not allowed to go outside their quarantine facilities until they secure the quarantine clearance from the BOQ.

Eight OFWs escaped from the quarantine facility on Monday. One of them eventually tested positive and was immediately traced by the PCG.

Balilo said their intelligence division is still conducting an investigation to determine the whereabouts of the seven other OFWs who escaped.

Last Tuesday, the PCG allowed “several hundreds” of Filipino seafarers to disembark from foreign cruise ships anchored off the Manila Bay.

The seafarers were stranded on the ships for more than two months due to the delay in the coordination with the shipping agencies which handled their transportation.

At least 25 foreign cruise ships with 7,000 Filipino crewmembers onboard are docked off Manila Bay.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) has allowed the entry of foreign cruise ships from coronavirus-hit areas around the world as part of its effort to repatriate Filipino seafarers.

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