Philippines: Red Cross stops free COVID-19 tests for arriving OFWs

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The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has stopped providing free Covid-19 tests for Filipino expats arriving in Manila because of the government health insurer’s nearly Php1-billion (Dh75.5 million) debt.

Since Thursday, October 15, the humanitarian organisation no longer accepted swabs from returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as well as medical frontliners and others covered by the expanded screening of the Philippines’ Department of Health (DoH).

In a statement sent to local media, the Manila International Airport Authority assured that tests will continue to be conducted for OFWs. The Philippine Coast Guard will still be collecting swabs when returning Filipinos arrive at the airport, it said.  

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The DoH had also tapped eight hospitals for the testing requirement, as it tries to resolve issues with the PRC, according to another statement.

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