'Second wave' of COVID-19 cases possible with influx of OFWs — Galvez

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 22) — The huge number of returning overseas Filipino workers might cause a spike in country's coronavirus cases, National Task Force on COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez said on Friday.

"Sa nakita natin ngayon, ang ating OFWs, we are receiving more than 30,000 and they came from affected areas na katulad ng U.S., Italy, Spain and other parts of Middle East. So yun ang tinitignan natin na dun magkakaroon tayo ng tinatawag na possible, ano, ng second wave," explained Galvez in a Laging Handa virtual briefing.

[Translation: What we are seeing now is we are receiving more than 30,000 OFWs and they came from affected areas like the U.S., Italy, Spain and other parts of Middle East. From there, we could have what we call a possible second wave.]

Of this number, 600 have tested positive for COVID-19, he added.

Galvez also reported that the government estimates 150,000 to 500,000 overseas workers will be coming home for the rest of the year.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque initially announced that the Philippines is already experiencing its second wave of coronavirus infections, but has since said the country is at the "first major wave of sustained community transmission" instead.

The Health Department has also apologized for the confusion Duque's remarks have caused.

The Philippines currently has 13,434 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Some 846 have died from the illness, while 3,000 have recovered.