MORE than 16,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) are expected to come home this month amid a coronavirus pandemic, less than half of the original estimate after many of them failed to get cleared, according to the Labor department.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III on Friday said 42,000 Filipino workers from overseas were expected to return. But many of these Filipino workers had not completed their exit requirements and clearances, he told a news briefing on Tuesday.

Mr. Bello called on the Transportation and Tourism departments to help provide vehicles and lodging for the 16,679 returning Filipino workers.

Returning workers must be tested for the COVID-19 virus and undergo a 14-day quarantine.

More than 300,000 overseas Filipino workers have been displaced by a coronavirus pandemic that has sickened 6.4 million and killed about 378,000 people globally, Mr. Bello said.

He said 343,551 people have been affected by the global health crisis, with 2,390 of them testing positive for the virus. Seventy-two overseas Filipino have died from the virus so far, he added.

More than 200,000 mostly in the US and Europe don’t want to come home, Mr. Bello said. — Gillian M. Cortez