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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, April 14, 2020
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Capitol sets safeguards
as OFWs start returning


The return of stranded Negrense overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Negros Occidental will begin tomorrow and safety precautions are in place to ensure that they are coronavirus disease (COVID-19) free, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday.

        “We will not allow them to roam freely and mingle with society, we have to isolate them first,” Diaz said.  

         Thirty-five OFWs and 17 Bureau of Fire Protection new recruits will arrive from Cebu today and  will be quarantined for 14 days at the Yolanda housing village in EB Magalona, he said.

    Of the 35, he said 19 are from Bacolod City.

    On their arrival, they will be subjected to COVID-19 rapid  tests so the provincial government  will immediately know  their health condition, Diaz said. Swab tests will also be simultaneous taken for official test results from the Department of Health laboratory in Iloilo, he added.

    Diaz said an administrative officer, five nurses, and 14 policemen will take care of the medical and security needs of the group arriving from Cebu while in EB Magalona.

    This precaution is being taken to ensure the protection of the families of the OFWs from COVID-19 and to prevent a series of infections, he said.

        Arrangements for the return of 45 Negrenses stranded in Iloilo, mostly construction workers, are also being finalized, he said.

    The DOH protocol is all returning OFWs must be placed under 14-day facility-based quarantine, Dr. Ma. Sophia Pulmones, DOH Western Visayas spokesperson, said yesterday.

    They should not be placed under home quarantine, she added.

    Diaz said they are also working on the return of the rest of the stranded Negrense OFWs in Cebu and Manila, and workers from other parts of the country.

    A complete list of those in Manila needs to be finalized first, so it will only be one effort to bring them all home, he said.

    Meanwhile, the provincial government is distributing P15.5 million worth of rice, at 400 sacks for every town and city of Negros Occidental as assistance to their residents, starting today, Diaz added.*


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