Over 600 Filipinos repatriated from Italy, Maldives arrive in Manila amid COVID-19 pandemic

Jonathan Andal/KG, GMA News

Some 600 overseas Filipino workers in Italy and Maldives were repatriated and arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Saturday.

The 336 OFWs from Maldives arrived via a chartered Philippine Airlines flight.

They were stranded on the island nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of them were working in the tourism industry, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

DFA principal assistant Pete dela Fuente said the OFWs had to be fetched in Maldives since there is no embassy there. The nearest Philippine Embassy overseeing Maldives is in Dhaka, Bangladesh but there are no direct flights going there.

Meanwhile, 337 seafarer OFWs from Italy also arrived on Saturday night on board different flights.

They were workers on Costa Cruises ships.

All the arriving OFWs were interviewed upon arrival for their contact details and other information, and underwent a rapid antibody test for COVID-19 conducted by personnel in hazmat suits.

Dela Fuente said the health condition of the OFWs were checked in Maldives and also before disembarking the plane at NAIA.

No one exhibited COVID-19 symptoms.

All the OFWs will undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine. 

Those from Italy were brought to hotels while those from Maldives were brought to World Trade Center.

London, Madrid, Africa

The DFA also said it has repatriated on Saturday OFWs from London, Madrid, and Cotê d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sierra Leone in Africa.

A total of 610 seafarers working on MV Queen Mary 2 arrived at NAIA on Saturday afternoon.

Thirteen seafarers from MSC Magnifica in Madrid, Spain also arrived on Saturday.

Thirty-eight stranded Filipino missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, meanwhile, arrived from Cotê d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sierra Leone before midnight.

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