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Despite Delta variant risk, stranded OFWs’ repatriation to go on

THE repatriation efforts for around 5,000 to 6,000 stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in eight countries with travel restrictions due to the presence of the Delta variant of Covid-19 will push through despite calls to suspend it.

However, the returning OFWs could face more stringent quarantine protocols upon their arrival after more cases of the Delta variant were detected in some local government units (LGU).

In an online press briefing last Monday, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said they will continue to bring home the concerned OFWs so they could be with their loved ones.

He said the measure aims to prevent the entry congestion of their halfway homes in the said countries.

The government imposed travel restrictions on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman and as of Monday, Indonesia due to the outbreak of the Delta variant in these areas.

“Even if there is a lockdown [for travelers in the said countries], we try to come up with a way to bring them home through charter flights,” Bello said.

However, Bello said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is currently studying if it will reimpose  tighter quarantine protocols for travelers coming from these countries.

This after the government has already detected 35 Delta variants in the country. Of these, 19 cases involved returning overseas Filipinos.

A former adviser to the coronavirus National Task Force Against Covid-19 had said the government may consider stopping the repatriation of stranded Filipinos amid the increasing cases of the Delta variant nationwide.

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