BI to help identify arriving OFWs required to take COVID-19 tests
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will assist in identifying arriving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who the government have required undergo testing for coronavirus disease, and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival to the country.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said this is in line with the recent pronouncement of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases requiring all arriving OFWs to undergo rapid antibody testing at airports before being brought to designated facilities for quarantine.
Morente said this move comes after reports that some arriving passengers do not declare that they are OFWs to avoid being required to undergo quarantine.
“If they misdeclare their status during the health screening, immigration officers would still be able to detect it,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, BI Operations Division chief Grifton Medina said the bureau has also set up an area at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where immigration officers will conduct “redundancy check” for arriving Filipinos to see if OFWs have been inspected by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) after disembarking from aircraft.
“Passengers who do not have the quarantine registration form showing that he or she has been tested for COVID-19 symptoms by BOQ personnel after disembarking from the aircraft shall be referred back to the BOQ,” he said.
As of Sunday, some 50 special flights carrying OFWs, mostly seafarers, were recorded since the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) took effect on March 17. The bulk of the repatriated passengers came from Italy, Spain and the United States, according to BI records.
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