Negros execs scrambling for quarantine spaces for returning OFWs
BACOLOD CITY—Local officials here are scrambling to find places to isolate hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who arrived on Monday (May 25).
At least 327 OFWs returned to Negros Occidental and Bacolod City aboard a ship owned by the company 2Go on a journey labeled as Malasakit Voyage. The vessel docked at the port of the Bacolod Real Estate and Development Corp.
More OFWs were expected to arrive on board two Philippine Airlines chartered flights also on Monday, according to Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson.
Protocol set by the provincial government and the city government of Bacolod required returning OFWs to go on 14-day quarantine until they test negative for SARS Cov2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday that one of the OFWs, a 41-year-old man, tested positive for coronavirus. As of May 25, seven OFWs who returned to Negros Occidental and four who came home to Bacolod had tested positive for the virus.
Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, in a memo to mayors and governors, said more than 24,000 OFWs in Metro Manila would be brought home to their provinces by air, land or sea in an operation that would last until Wednesday (May 27).
OFW flights are also arriving in Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban, Davao, Cebu, Iloilo and Zamboanga.
Rayfrando Diaz, Negros Occidental provincial administrator, said the province has managed to contain coronavirus transmission with only two residents testing positive. Seven other confirmed COVID-19 patients were OFWs returning to the province.
Diaz said the objective was keep the people of Negros Occidental safe by making sure returning OFWs are quarantined and tested before being allowed to proceed to their homes.
The sudden deluge of returning OFWs, however, caught the provincial government off guard, according to Diaz.
He said the provincial government would bring the OFWs aboard the PAL flights to a hotel to go on quarantine.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia also called for an emergency meeting to discuss accommodations for the OFWs.
Edited by TSB
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