MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is imposing stricter screening of Filipino repatriates following the surge of COVID-19 cases in neighboring countries.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said, all repatriates are required to undergo RT-PCR testing twice.
“Bago sila makaalis doon ay kailangan meron silang testing na. Pagka negative, pwede na silang umalis doon at pagdating dito, panibagong quarantine at panibagong testing,” he said.
Countries covered by the travel ban are: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.
Bello said they are also looking into including Thailand and Malaysia in the list of countries. The government is closely monitoring the status of transmission in the said countries of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said that upon arrival in the Philippines all OFWs — even the vaccinated ones — are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. They will only be allowed to go home when they test negative for COVID-19.
All vaccinated OFWs coming from countries without travel bans will have a shorter quarantine period of seven days upon arrival.
“Sabi naman ng Department of Health, matapos ang ika-10 araw ay napakaliit na ng tsansa na dala pa nila yung virus. So sa tingin namin na ayon sa mga dalubhasa ng DOH, safe na yung 14 days,” explained Cacdac.
The official said, there are about 3,000 Filipinos for repatriation from countries covered by the travel ban. From the said number, three batches have already returned to the Philippines.
Cacdac said they are now discussing the additional amount to be requested from the national government as they are now close to depleting their repatriation funds by September. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)