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3-week wait of 8,000 OFWs on cruise ships almost over as testing nears end

After waiting for almost three weeks, Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) quarantined on cruise ships will finally be tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the end of this week.

According to Chino Gaston's report on "24 Oras," 22 cruise ships carrying over 8,000 Filipinos have been anchored at Manila Bay.

Out of the 22, only 14 cruise ships have been tested for the disease and only around 5,000 out of the 8,000 Filipinos have undergone the swab test.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recently brought medical personnel to the cruise ships to administer the swab tests.

READ: Returning OFWs required to undergo COVID-19 rapid testing — IATF

"We just have to wait for the results na ipro-process ng Red Cross which will be given to us," said PCG Spokesman Commander Arman Balilo.

Should the results come back negative, he assured the crew members that they will be allowed to disembark and go home with the help of the Department of Transportation.

Because the RT-PCR test will be used on the crew members, they will no longer have to worry about being blocked and undergoing another set of quarantine protocols should they return to their provinces.

"Regardless of gaano sila katagal sa cruise ship, iswa-swab sila, they will have to wait for results kasi after ma-release sila 'yun din ang gagamitin nila sa probinsya nila," Balilo said. —Kaela Malig/MGP, GMA News