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DOTr: Over 11K returning overseas Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @inquirerdotnet
/ 05:02 PM December 16, 2020
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Photo/data courtesy of the Department of Transportation.

MANILA, Philippines — Around 11,378 returning overseas Filipinos since May have been tested positive for COVID-19, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Raul del Rosario said on Wednesday.

In an online media forum, Del Rosario said that according to DOTr’s data, 2.2 percent out of the total 506,364 Filipinos who arrived in the country since May were positive of the COVID-19.

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The data showed that based on the RT-PCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) from May 3 to December 13, 10,803 out of 428,216 passengers of ships returning to the country tested positive for the virus. This translates to a 2.52 percent positivity rate.

Meanwhile, 0.49 percent or 13 out of 2,668 returnees who underwent RT-PCR by the local government of Pampanga from July 8 to December 13 were positive for COVID-19.

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For passengers who were tested by Philippine Airlines, about 353 or 0.84 percent of the 42,180 individuals received positive results. The data were recorded from July 17 to December 12.

During the same period, the Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions (PAGSS) and Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory (PADL) also found that 209 out of 33,300 returning overseas Filipinos were infected by the virus. This results in a 0.63 percent positivity rate.

Stricter measures for the Christmas season

Despite the presented positivity rate, Del Rosario announced that the DOTr has increased its daily passenger arrivals to 5,000 in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and 2,000 for Clark and Cebu.

“Yan po ay dahil sa kahilingan ng ibat ibang mga airlines na magdagdag ng flight kagaya ng Saudia Airlines at ng iba pa,” he said.

(That is due to the requests of different airlines, such as Saudia Airlines, to increase their flights.)

Del Rosario assured that the department will impose stricter measures to ensure the safety of returning overseas Filipinos.

“Nagdagdag po tayo ng swabbers at verification officers sa naia dahil dito po may bottleneck, dito po nagtatgal, so nag dagdag tayo ng mga tao para mas mapabilis,” the undersecretary said.

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(We added more swabbers and verification officers in NAIA because this is where we detect a bottleneck, we increased the manpower to speed up the process.)

He also mentioned that the results of RT-PCR tests will be released within 24 and not later than 48 hours.

“We can guarantee based on our past experiences na walang lumalabas na 48 hours sa ating turnaround time,” he said.

(We can guarantee based on our experience that our turnaround time will not exceed 48 hours.)

According to Del Rosario, among the preparations that the DOTr will implement this holiday seasons are:

  • Available and additional Quarantine Facilities or Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) Accredited Hotel Rooms to accommodate all arriving returning overseas Filipinos;
  • Increased chartered flights to ferry OFWs bound for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao;
  • The implementation of Oplan Byaheng Ayos to ensure the safety, security, and convenience of riding public;
  • The Malasakit Help Desks in all airports, seaports, bus and rail stations;
  • The “OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) Pasalubong para sa OFW” program which aims to give presents to OWWA members.
JPV

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TAGS: airport, Christmas, COVID-19, DoTr, NAIA, RT-PCR test, seaport
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