'Drastic reduction': OFWs staying in quarantine hotels down to 1,500

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2022 03:21 PM

Passengers arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay City on Feb. 1, 2022, the first day of the revised protocols for the entry of international arriving Filipinos and foreign nationals, regardless of their country of origin. Fully-vaccinated international travelers and returning overseas Filipinos are no longer required to undergo facility-based quarantine, but must test negative for COVID-19 and self-monitor for symptoms. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News 
Passengers arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay City on Feb. 1, 2022, the first day of the revised protocols for the entry of international arriving Filipinos and foreign nationals, regardless of their country of origin. Fully-vaccinated international travelers and returning overseas Filipinos are no longer required to undergo facility-based quarantine, but must test negative for COVID-19 and self-monitor for symptoms. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News 

MANILA — Around 1,500 Filipinos who returned from work abroad are quarantined in the country, which is a "drastic reduction" after the Philippines stopped requiring vaccinated inbound travelers to isolate, an official said on Thursday. 

Government on Feb. 1 lifted its quarantine policy for international travelers and returning overseas Filipinos who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Since Feb. 1, authorities helped some 20,000 OFWs return to their home regions after presenting negative COVID-19 test results, said Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac. 

At least 1,582 OFWs are currently staying in 51 hotel quarantine facilities, he said. 

"That is a drastic reduction from 7,000 two weeks ago... Noong kasagsagan ng omicron at nagkaroon pa nang pagkaantala ng pagbiyahe due to typhoon Odette, umabot ng mga 14,000, that was about a month ago noong Disyembre papasok ng Enero," Cacdac said in a public briefing. 

(At the height of the omicron uptick and there were travel delays due to typhoon Odette, that reached around 14,000, that was about a month ago in December, approaching January.) 

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But the official noted that a resolution from the COVID-19 task force states that the suspension of the quarantine requirement was "temporary."

"We are on guard, we will always be ready, we stand ready in the event na ibalik iyong mandatory quarantine (in the event that the mandatory quarantine is brought back)," Cacdac said. 

But he said OWWA joins the labor and tourism departments against the return of this policy. 

"As much as possible, bigyan ng mas maraming panahon ang ating mga OFWs to be with their families," Cacdac said. 

(OFWs should be given more time to be with their families.)