Philippines requires all returning OFWs to take rapid COVID-19 test

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2020 10:42 AM

MANILA- Filipino migrant workers returning to the Philippines will be required to undergo rapid testing for the novel coronavirus, the government's pandemic task force said Tuesday.

The policy covers all arriving overseas Filipino workers including seafarers, task force spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
 
Migrant workers, who were previously required to only undergo self-quarantine, will also be required to isolate themselves for 14 days in a provided quarantine facility, and

"All arriving overseas Filipino workers, whether land-based or sea-based, shall be required to undergo a mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine, and shall be subject to rapid antibody testing for COVID-19," the Cabinet official said in a virtual press briefing.

The Department of Foreign Affairs had said that the quarantine facilities and program will be determined and facilitated by the Department of Health and Bureau of Quarantine.

Sea-based migrant workers who have been cleared by the Bureau of Quarantine at their point of departure, however, will still be subject to rapid testing for COVID-19 and will be monitored by health authorities.

Last week, Nograles said the government is allowing foreign cruise ships carrying Filipino seafarers to dock at ports in Manila as the country continues to repatriate its people displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government also allowed the use of ships as quarantine facilities subject to the guidelines on the repatriation of OFWs.

The DFA has so far repatriated 16,682 OFWs, of whom 13,213 are seafarers.

On Monday, the DFA also reported that the cumulative total of Filipinos abroad who contracted COVID-19 stood at 990, with 143 deaths, and 263 recoveries.

In the Philippines, COVID-19 has so far infected 6,459 people, with 428 deaths and 613 recoveries.