PH gov’t to repatriate 196 Filipinos from Macau over COVID-19 fears

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are preparing to repatriate 196 workers from Macau amid reports of Filipinos losing their jobs there due to the COVID-19 scare.

According to the OWWA, some of the overseas Filipino workers lost their jobs after their employers left the city over virus fears, while others had found themselves in conflict with their bosses, who had tried to prevent them from going out on their days off for fear of them contracting COVID-19.

The DFA will bring 148 workers back to the country via a chartered flight, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo announced yesterday. Separately, the OWWA will bring 48 of its members back from Macau via a commercial flight, ABS-CBN News reports.

No date has been given for the workers’ arrival in the Philippines.

In a statement released yesterday, the Department of Health’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases said that they approved the DFA and OWWA’s plans during a meeting yesterday afternoon, Rappler reports. The Filipino workers will be quarantined upon their arrival in the country, said the IATF.

Read: Health Department finally tracks down Korean tourist from virus-hit Daegu City in Cebu

The Filipinos in Macau will be the third group to be repatriated due to the coronavirus outbreak. The first group was workers based in Hubei province, where the virus originated, while the second was the Filipinos onboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan after a coronavirus outbreak on board. As of yesterday, 25 people are being monitored for possible infection in the country.

There still hasn’t been a single Filipino to test positive for the coronavirus in the Philippines, though 86 overseas Filipino workers have been infected, most of them aboard the Diamond Princess. Three Chinese tourists tested positive in the Philippines shortly after the disease emerged around the beginning of the year — one died, and the other two have reportedly since recovered and returned to China.

This article, PH gov’t to repatriate 196 Filipinos from Macau over COVID-19 fears, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!