PH to repatriate 167 Pinoys from Macau amid coronavirus spread

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2020 10:49 AM

MANILA – The Philippine government said a chartered flight would be bringing home 167 Filipinos from Macau on Saturday afternoon amid the continuing spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Of the total, 137 are undocumented and irregular Filipino workers while 20 are registered members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), it said in a statement.

Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez of the DFA Office of Strategic Communication and Research, meanwhile, said the batch of Filipinos include those "stranded in Macau when travel restrictions were imposed," including "many tourists and those looking for work who didn’t pass through POEA."

They will be boarding a special Air Macau flight to take them home and are expected to arrive Saturday afternoon.

The Philippine Consulate General in Macau has been in touch with the Macau government since last month to arrange the repatriation flight amid the lack of direct flights between Manila and the Chinese territory with travel restrictions still in place in the Philippines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it would ensure that Filipinos who will disembark will be asymptomatic.

But if some show signs of the coronavirus disease, they will be immediately brought to a medical facility for further investigation and necessary treatment.

The Philippines has a standing travel ban on China, including territories Hong Kong and Macau, following the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The Philippine government relaxed restrictions last month, but only for Filipinos returning to Hong Kong and Macau.