465 OFWs who headed back to PH test positive for COVID-19, could have caused PH 'second wave' if left unchecked

The Philippines has revealed that over 465 OFWs who came back home to the country from different parts of the world have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. stated that these OFWs might have caused what he coined as the ‘second wave’ had the OFWs been allowed to immediately head back to their homes.
“Kung hindi po natin PCR ito, itong 465 po ang magiging parang second wave at kawawa po ang ating mga LGUs lalo na po yung mga hindi at walang alam at walang PCR doon po sa area at wala pong facilities,” said Galvez.
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The data came from the recent testings done by authorities for around 30,000 OFWs. Of this number 22,432 of the tests were conducted by the Philippine Red Cross where 465 OFWs tested positive for the viral disease.
Secretary Galvez stated that to date, there are 27,000 OFWs currently in Manila and that there will be 42,000 more Filipinos from overseas that are expected to head home until June. Galvez relayed to President Duterte that while this is currently a huge problem for the authorities, he stressed that they are taking measures to vacate quarantine areas by sending home those who have already tested negative.
“Sa ngayon po si General Lorenzana, kinausap niya po ang Maritime Industry kasama po ang mga ibang agencies at sinosolve na po iyong ating problema sa OFWs. He directed DOTr, he also directed OWWA and MARINA to immediately release all OFWs that have been tested negative. General Lorenzana is taking care of this na yung lahat ng OFWs natin, especially yung mga nabigyan na ng BOQ clearance ay makauwi na po kaagad,” said Galvez.
The chief implementer then stated that around 800 OFWs are currently aboard ships that will take them home, coursed through the Department of Transportation.

Staff Report

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