Over 350,000 Filipinos repatriated amid COVID-19 pandemic — DFA
MANILA, Philippines — More than 350,000 Filipinos overseas have been repatriated to the Philippines as nations continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported Thursday.
During the meeting of the House committee on overseas workers affairs, DFA Assistant Secretary Enrico Fos reported that as of January 26, a total of 352,999 Filipinos abroad have been repatriated to the Philippines.
Of this number, 25,488 were repatriated during the first three weeks of the year while more than 327,000 were brought home in 2020.
Fos said around 70 percent of the repatriated Filipinos came from the Middle East, while the rest came from other areas such as Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
Meanwhile, Fos reported that more than 13,800 Filipinos abroad have been infected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while nearly 1,000 have succumbed to the disease as of January 26.
Most of the cases reported came from the Middle East, said the DFA official.
“While the Middle East has the biggest number, the new development in the Middle East is that the rate of vaccination is quite high and migrant and migrant workers are included in the vaccination program of the countries in the Middle East,” Fos said.
“Their projection is maybe by the middle of the year or third quarter, they would be able to vaccinate most of the people in the Middle East of the vaccine against COVID-19. We expect that our people there would be included and the fact is that our people there are included in the vaccination program,” he added.
The COVID-19-related repatriations kicked off in February when members of the DFA flew to Wuhan, China, the initial epicenter of the virus, to bring home Filipinos who were stranded in the area during the pandemic.
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