National Task Force on COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez said a total of 465 returning overseas Filipino workers have tested positive for the coronavirus disease.
In an inter-agency task force meeting aired online late Tuesday night, Galvez said these OFWs were tested by the Philippine Red Cross, which in total performed over 22,000 tests. He also added that the country so far has tested around 30,000 OFWs.
“Kung hindi natin ni-PCR [polymerase chain reaction testing] ito, ‘yung 465 po na ito ay parang magiging second wave,” he said. “At kawawa ang mga local government units, lalo na yung mga walang alam tsaka walang PCR sa area at walang facilities.”
According to Galvez, the influx of returning OFWs poses a huge problem, as such threatens to overwhelm hotels in the country.
“Malaki po ang problema po natin sa returning OFWs. Kasi po sa ngayon po, more than 27,000 na po ang nandito sa Manila, at mayroon pa pong darating na 42,000 this coming May and June,” he said.
However, he assured President Rodrigo Duterte that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is already coordinating with various agencies to address this problem. Galvez added that Lorenzana has already ordered for the immediate release of all OFWs who tested negative.
The country has so far recorded nearly 13,000 cases of the coronavirus disease, with more than 800 deaths and over 2,800 recoveries.
Meanwhile, there are also now some 2,400 confirmed cases among Filipinos abroad, with Europe and Middle East/Africa logging the most number of infections.
This article is taken from CNN Philippines