Philippine President Duterte Answers Call Of Workers Under COVID-19 Quarantine Eager To Go Home
Category: Filipinos

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has given his Government a week to process more than 24,000 repatriated Filipino workers, stuck for weeks on cruise ships or in coronavirus quarantine, so they can finally return home.

Thousands have been aboard cruise vessels off Manila Bay or have been stuck in hotels and crowded health facilities, some growing frustrated having tested negative for the coronavirus and completed the mandated 14-day quarantine.

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are breadwinners and seen to be a key support base of Mr Duterte.

Their billions of annual remittances have been a key driver of the Philippine economy, sustaining millions of family members.

"The President said they can use all government resources and whatever means of transportation — bus, airplane, ships — to bring the OFWs home," Mr Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said.

The Government is braced for hundreds of thousands more workers to return due to job losses as a result of the devastation the coronavirus has had on economies worldwide.

It blamed the delays on a testing bottleneck.

The cruise ship cluster off Manila Bay numbered 29 vessels on Monday (local time), none with passengers aboard.

They contain thousands of Filipino crew still awaiting coronavirus tests, many no longer receiving salaries and venting frustrations having already met conditions for release.

Some of the crew have said information was scarce and prolonged isolation was taking a toll on their mental and emotional health.

Jex Bañega, a receptionist on Carnival Corp's Pacific Explorer, said he was being well cared for, but after 35 days of quarantine, his cabin felt more like a prison cell.

More than 30,000 overseas Filipinos have returned home and 515 of 27,000 tested for coronavirus were positive as of May 20, authorities said.

The Philippines Health Ministry reported five additional coronavirus deaths and 284 more infections on Monday — the largest daily increase of cases in two weeks.

The Ministry said total deaths had increased to 873, while confirmed cases had risen to 14,319. But 74 more patients had recovered, bringing total recoveries to 3,323.



25 May, 2020 0 2051
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