MORE than 400,000 overseas Filipino workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic had been brought home by the government, the labor department reported on Saturday.
Latest figures from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration showed that 8,273 OFWs were transported to their respective provinces last week alone, from 7,895 in the preceding week.
In a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said total repatriates who have undergone quarantine and were cleared of COVID stood at 410,211 as of January 16.
“After their ordeal in their country of origin, our dear OFWs were all provided accommodation, food, transportation and cash assistance by the government. Now, they are safely home with their families,” Bello said.
About 60,000 to 80,000 more OFWs are estimated to be repatriated this year based on reports from the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices of DOLE.
Those awaiting repatriation form part of the over 520,000 OFWs displaced by the COVID pandemic that continues to plague economies around the globe.
Citing separate POLO reports, Bello renewed his call to OFWs to follow health and safety measures imposed in their host counties which continue to register new cases of COVID-19 among OFWs, and in the face of the new strain of the virus.
“There is no room for complacency. We cannot let our guard down. Despite the availability of COVID vaccines in your country of work, the virus remains an imminent threat to your health and safety,” Bello said.
The whole of the Middle East region remains to be highest recorded cases of infection among OFWs at 7,844 as of January 13. The region also recorded by highest number of deaths among OFWs which stood at 3,697.
Qatar reported the single biggest number of cases at 3,873, with 14 new COVID cases among OFWs in the last 24 hours. Nineteen OFW casualties were recorded.
Countries in Europe and the Americas listed 3,078 cases with 265 deaths, while there were 1,239 reported cases of OFW infection in Asia and the Pacific.
Highest recovery among OFWs is in Europe and the Americas with 2,372 cases, followed by Asia at 1,165 and Middle East with only 619 reported cases.