The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said all overseas Filipinos returning to the country are now required to take rapid testing for coronavirus disease.
All sea-based and land-based returning OFWs “shall be subject to rapid antibody testing for COVID-19 in accordance with Department Memorandum 2020-0180 issued by the Department of Health,” said IATF-EID spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
Seafarers and other sea-based OFWs will also undergo the coronavirus rapid antibody testing upon arrival in the Philippines. This is even they have been given a Clean Bill of Health by the Bureau of Quarantine, upon presentation of a certificate of completion of 14-day quarantine issued at the point of origin.
OFWs are also required to undergo a 14-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival, aside from the mandatory testing.
According to the latest report of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are a total of 990 overseas Filipinos across 42 countries have been infected by COVID-19.
Of the 990, 584 Filipino patients are still undergoing treatment, 263 have already been discharged from hospitals or have recovered, and 143 have died so far.
Neda approves P5-B for testing, quarantine facilities in Philippine airports
Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) has approved the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed P5.09 billion budget for establishing COVID-19 testing and quarantine facilities in six major airports across the Philippines.
According to President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth report to Congress, Neda’s Investment Coordination Committee also approved building the 21 first-line decontamination facilities at international airports in selected areas in the country.
The P5.09 billion project also included improving the national laboratories and sub-national public health laboratories’ capabilities in handling coronavirus cases. The fund would also be used in refurbishing and establishing negative pressure isolation rooms in around 70 DOH and 85 provincial public hospitals and set up 450 isolation tents nationwide.
The project would also be allotted in purchasing diagnostic and life support equipment like ventilators, oxygen machines, cardiac monitors, infusion pumps, portable x-ray machines, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) equipment, COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment, as well as ambulances.