DFA repatriates over 223K overseas Filipinos since start of pandemic

Maris Federez   •   October 19, 2020   •   95

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Sunday (October 18) that it has brought home a total of 223,294 overseas Filipinos (OFs) since the start of the pandemic.

The DFA said the number shows how they are fully committed to their COVID-19-related repatriation efforts.

In a statement posted on its website, the department said that, in the past week alone, it has repatriated an additional 9,352 OFs.

The DFA added that of the total number of OFs repatriated, 73,870 (33.08%) are sea-based, while 149,424 (66.92%) are land-based.

“The DFA facilitated this week the safe return of 8,444 OFs from the Middle East, 512 from Asia and the Pacific, 394 from Europe, and 2 from the Americas via 38 special commercial repatriation flights. The DFA likewise chartered two flights from Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia which flew home 603 OFs, including five OFWs with chronic medical conditions,” the statement said.

It added that part of the 8,444 OFs who came home from the Middle East were 260 Agrostudies students from Israel, an undocumented OFW and her minor child from Iran, and two possible victims of trafficking-in-persons from Syria.

“The DFA, through the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, also successfully repatriated 92 OFWs from Benghazi, Libya. This marked the DFA’s first repatriation from Benghazi since 2017,” the statement further said.

The department also announced that through the Philippine Consulate General in Manado, the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta and the Consular Office in General Santos City and in partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard, they have brought home 40 Filipino fishermen from North Sulawesi, Indonesia to General Santos City on board the BRP Tubbataha.

The statement said that this is the agency’s first repatriation effort by sea from Indonesia since the start of the pandemic.

“The DFA reassures our fellow Filipinos, especially those who remain stranded overseas, whether on land or on sea, of its continuous efforts to safely bring them home,” the statement concluded.

DFA reports one new COVID-19 case among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   October 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday (October 25) reported one new case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among overseas Filipinos from the Asia and the Pacific.

Also, no new fatality and no new recovery were reported. 

To date, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad is at 11,199.

Meanwhile, the tally of fatalities is still at 815 while recoveries remain at 7,248.

The Middle East and Africa continue to be the combined regions with the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and have recorded the most number of deaths at 7,376 and 532, respectively. 

The DFA vows full commitment in monitoring the situation of overseas Filipinos who are affected by the pandemic and remains steadfast in promoting and protecting their welfare.

Relaxed travel restrictions still pose health risks—UP OCTA Research

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 23, 2020

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research team said relaxed travel restrictions may still pose health risks.

Dr. Guido David, team member of the UP OCTA Research, said it is too early for the country to accept inbound travels and that further review is needed to avoid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

“There’s a surge happening right now in Europe so if we were not careful, maraming cases [there are a lot of cases] outside the Philippine, in Europe and certain parts of the world, kasama pa rin diyan iyong sa (these includes) the United States and India. So we have to be careful about letting people,” he said.

David also said despite the drop of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, there is still a possibility for cases to increase if no safety measures is implemented.

“We’re also a bit worried because the rate of decrease in NCR is not that low anymore. It’s very slow. So it could be, the trend might be reversing anytime,” he added.

Services of Red Cross should also resume first, according to David, because its testing capacity covers 1/4 of the total testing capacity of the country. He also reiterated the need for the public to cooperate in order to fight against the virus.

“The public should be aware that the virus is still here. That the pandemic is not yet over. So if they’re loosening restrictions, responsibility is in the public in deciding whether or not they want to go out,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda).

Kaso ng COVID-19 transmission sa Cebu City, bumababa na – Cimatu

Robie de Guzman   •   October 23, 2020

Patuloy nang bumababa ng antas ng COVID-19 transmission sa Cebu City kasabay ng pagdami naman ng mga gumagaling mula sa sakit, ayon kay DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Batay sa hawak nilang impormasyon ngayong buwan ng Oktubre, sinabi ni Cimatu na nasa 1 hanggang 0.5 percent ang positivity rate sa lungsod.

Ibig sabihin aniya ay isa na lang ang nagpopositibo sa sakit sa bawat 100 na isinasailalim sa COVID-19 testing.

Ngayong Oktubre, umabot sa 9,307 ang bilang ng mga gumaling mula sa COVID-19 at walang napaulat na nasawi.

“If you look at the data, more than 600 death ang all of Cebu City since June and bigla na lang naging zero, what is this? This the indication really of the success of the effort of this team,” ang pahayag ni Cimatu.

Si Cimatu ay nagsisilbing chief implementor ng COVID-19 response ng pamahalaan sa Cebu City. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Irish Madelo)

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