The Philippine’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have repatriated 303 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based in Kuwait and 439 seafarers from cruise liners docked in the United States on Thursday amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to DFA’s statement, the seafarers were crews on-board the cruise ships Norwegian Joy and Regent Splendor, both docked in California, US. Meanwhile, the 303 OFWs were beneficiaries of the Kuwaiti government’s amnesty program.
DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said that OFWs and other Filipinos abroad can contact the nearest Philippine embassy or DFA’s Facebook page for emergency assistance.
“Filipinos who require emergency assistance should immediately contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate or send a message through DFA-OUMWA’s OFW Help Facebook page,” Arriola explained.
“The DFA, together with its over 90 Foreign Service Posts across the globe, stands ready to provide the necessary assistance,” she added.
DFA assured that all returning OFWs would be submitted to medical examination, while being required to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days. As of now, there are 9,628 Filipinos who have returned amid the COVID-19 pandemic, of which 6,680 are seafarers while 2,948 are land-based OFWs.
“Their return was made possible through the partnership of government agencies such as DOH-BOQ, OWWA, DOTr and the private sector under the whole-of-the government approach,” DFA noted.
In the Philippines, the entire Luzon is still under an enhanced community quarantine — which was extended until April 30 as the number of patients infected with the latest coronavirus strain continues to rise.
Department of Health officials said that there are now at 3,870 patients infected with COVID-19, 182 of which have already died while at least 96 have recovered. Meanwhile, DFA said that as of Wednesday, 594 Filipinos abroad have contracted the disease — 362 of which are still undergoing treatment.
Worldwide, over 1.5 million individuals have been infected, while 94,850 have died from the disease and 353,291 have recovered from it. (Source: INQUIRER.net)