Philippine authorities have on Monday launched a manhunt for seven missing Filipino migrant workers who fled quarantine facilities after returning from abroad, officials said.
A further worker who had tested positive for the coronavirus had since been located and brought in for treatment, said Commodore Armando Balilo, a spokesman for the coast guard partly responsible for overseeing quarantine facilities.
“The search operations for the seven other overseas Filipino workers are ongoing.
“They shall be arrested and shall face charges for violating quarantine protocols and for compromising the health and safety of their families and communities,” he said.
More than 26,000 Filipino migrant workers have returned to the Philippines since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
They are required to stay in government quarantine facilities for at least 14 days, during which time they are tested for the coronavirus and if found to be negative, allowed to return home.
Some returning workers have complained of delays to their test results, prolonging their quarantines.
Others have said their quarters were dirty, uncomfortable or lacking in basic amenities.
The Department of Health on Monday reported 205 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines, bringing the national tally to 12,718.
The death toll rose to 831, with seven additional deaths.
The government eased lockdown restrictions throughout the country from Saturday, allowing malls to reopen and some industries to resume partial operations.
However, the government has warned it would re-impose strict lockdown protocols if new case numbers were to begin to spike again.