314 returning Filipinos positive for COVID-19
The PCG said 2,077 Filipinos underwent swab tests upon their arrival in Manila last week. Of the number, 314 tested positive while 1,379 were cleared of the virus.
Edd Gumban
314 returning Filipinos positive for COVID-19
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - August 12, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least 314 returning overseas Filipinos have tested positive for COVID-19, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday.

The PCG said 2,077 Filipinos underwent swab tests upon their arrival in Manila last week. Of the number, 314 tested positive while 1,379 were cleared of the virus.

The rest are still waiting for the results of their COVID-19 tests, according to PCG spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo.

Based on PCG records, a total of 173,348 returning overseas Filipinos underwent swab tests. Of the figure, 11,100 tested positive for the disease while 188,422 tested negative.

Over a thousand overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic and other reasons are returning home, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced yesterday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said a total of 1,062 OFWs are arriving on three Philippine Airlines flights from Qatar starting today.

“The first batch of 354 repatriates will be home on Wednesday. We are thankful to the government of Qatar for allowing the chartered flights to bring home our countrymen,” Bello said.

Two other chartered flights carrying 354 OFWs each will arrive on Aug. 19 and 26.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Doha arranged the chartered flights. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will shoulder the cost of the repatriation.

Bello said the returning OFWs consist of distressed workers staying in a halfway house in Qatar as well as workers displaced by the health crisis.

The Philippine government has repatriated 2,327 OFWs since the start of the pandemic in March.

Last June, 277 distressed OFWs and their dependents returned home from Qatar, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.

Bello said the repatriated OFWs were employed in the oil industry and medical establishments.

Meanwhile, the Philippine consulate general in Jeddah launched yesterday a digital diplomacy program, which seeks to promote the country’s interests and safeguard the welfare of overseas Filipinos.

The consulate launched the program on social media platforms Facebook Live and Zoom.

It includes economic-related webinars on trade and investment, agribusiness, financial literacy and reintegration. Cultural activities such as the celebration of Buwan ng Wika, National Arts Months, Rizal Day and other similar events will also be done online. Partner agencies such as the Office of the Social Welfare Attaché have prepared interactive online sessions in support of the program.

Social Security System and Pag-IBIG representatives based in Jeddah have also identified projects and activities for their e-sessions.  — Mayen Jaymalin, Pia Lee-Brago

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