A TOTAL of 836 more Filipino workers from Ethiopia and Malaysia have come amid a coronavirus disease pandemic that has sickened 3.1 million and killed more than 217,900 people worldwide.

Of the total, 312 were skilled workers for Turkish company Yapi Merkezi, Inc. in Ethiopia who arrived on Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement yesterday.

They served as machine operators and engineers at a railway Project there, it said.

Yapi Merkezi, which builds buildings has committed to rehire the workers when restrictions on its operations are lifted, DFA said.

The agency said 341 Filipino workers arrived from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, while 183 Filipinos from Malaysia arrived on Tuesday evening, bringing the total repatriates to more than 22,000.

DFA is also working on the return of Filipino sailors aboard the MV Costa Atlantica, docked in Nagasaki City.

The agency said 1,604 Filipino workers overseas have been infected with the virus, 996 of whom were being treated, 419 have recovered and 189 have died.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian has asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to provide decent quarantine facilities for the mandatory 14-day quarantine of repatriated Filipino workers.

He also said the agency may tap its P19.4-billion trust fund to improve conditions in government-sponsored quarantine facilities.

This followed reports of poor sanitation and concerns about health protocols inside quarantine facilities for Filipino workers who have come home. — Charmaine A. Tadalan