Quarantine rules revised for returning OFWs living in Metro Manila

Rules for mandatory quarantine

CNN Philippines — Rules for mandatory quarantine for returning Filipinos living in Metro Manila will change starting Monday, the Philippine Coast Guard announced.

It said the Sub-Task Group for the Repatriation of OFWs said that all Filipinos arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport — including seafarers and non-OFWs — shall undergo home quarantine right after a swab test if they live in Metro Manila.

PCG, in a Facebook post on Monday, stressed that the new guidelines will only apply to those who reside in Metro Manila. The returning Filipino has to be picked up at the airport by one family member or driver, who has to provide a proof that they live in the region.

They shall remain in isolation in their homes, following stringent health protocols while waiting for the result of their RT-PCR test. PCG said the test results will be sent via email.

No new guidelines were posted for OFWs from the provinces. The usual process requires them to take a RT-PCR test then undergo mandatory quarantine at an accredited facility. The Philippine Red Cross processes the swabs then sends the results to the Philippine Coast Guard or Bureau of Quarantine, which issues the certificates of completion.

President Rodrigo Duterte on May 25 gave government officials a one-week ultimatum to rush the release of COVID-19 test results of over 24,000 returning OFWs languishing in quarantine facilities. A total of 23,472 returning workers had been sent back to their respective provinces, while hundreds more await clearance, the Labor Department said on Sunday.

More OFWs are expected to arrive in the next few months, with the COVID-19 crisis still hounding the globe. The government said it expects around 60,000 returning workers in the next two months, with some 300,000 more returning for the rest of 2020.

The President has also instructed the Department of Health to ramp up PCR testing in other regions so the OFWs can be sent to their hometowns, and they can undergo COVID-19 testing closer to their homes, his spokesman said