DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – A total of 382 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrived in Davao City on Friday from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to undergo a two-week mandatory hotel-based quarantine here before they can travel to their homes in other parts of the country, a local official said.
Generose Tecson, City Tourism Office chief who is also the concurrent head of the Airport Monitoring Team, told MindaNews on Friday that the city has sufficient hotel rooms to accommodate all the repatriates from Dubai and assured there would be no overspill since Department of Tourism keeps track of the number of available rooms here set aside for quarantine.
She said the city has a total of 1,372 hotel rooms approved by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to house the OFWs. Out of this total, 766 rooms have been occupied as of Friday.
The OFWs’ arrival is part of the national government’s repatriation program of Filipinos stranded abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will shoulder the cost of the quarantine in hotels.
Last month, Mayor Sara Duterte said the repatriation flights, the cost also shouldered by OWWA, help stranded OFWs to be able to return home and at the same time help Davao’s hotel industry to recover its losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic by assuming the role as quarantine facilities.
She assured Dabawenyos they have nothing to worry because the OFWs, upon landing at the airport, will be transported directly to their designated quarantine hotels.
Tecson said that the Department of Transporation has established a one-stop shop that will process the repatriates to ensure safety, the same procedure used other gateways like the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Cebu and Clark.
Duterte said the repatriated OFWs will only be allowed to finally go home upon testing negative of COVID-19 at the end of their quarantine.
Tecson said 22 hotels here have been designated as quarantine facilities for the Filipino repatriates.
She said the city listed a total of 1,314 Filipino repatriates who have already arrived in the city to undergo quarantine as of Friday. The first batch who were quarantined in the city were 99 seafarers from Fiji who arrived June 16.
Last July 30, Tecson told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that passengers from restricted countries need to undergo 14 days of quarantine, and only 10 days for those coming from non-restricted countries. The countries included in the government’s restricted list are Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, and United Arab Emirates.
Tecson said 14 tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from among the passengers from Dhaka, Bangladesh and Dubai who arrived July 15 and 18, respectively.
She said the quarantine remains mandatory even for fully vaccinated passengers.
Tecson said 164 repatriates from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are set to complete their two-week quarantine on Saturday and another 263 repatriates from Dubai on August 13.
As of August 5, DOH-Davao reported 56,012 cases with 6,653 active, 47,493 recoveries, and 1,868 deaths.
Out of the total cases, Davao City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mindanao, logged 31,259 cases with 2,802 active, 27,400 recoveries and 1,057 deaths. Davao de Oro tallied 4,326 cases, Davao del Norte with 10,767, Davao del Sur with 4,728, Davao Occidental with 1,163, and Davao Oriental with 3,769. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)