AS MANY as 35,000 Filipino seafarers are expected to come home after being displaced by a novel coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

However, some land-based workers in countries that have restarted their economies no longer desire to return after finding new jobs there, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said an online news briefing.

The agency has helped repatriate 36,731 overseas Filipinos — 22,198 sea-based and 14,533 land-based workers.

Ms. Arriola said DFA holds repatriations twice a week with a limit of 1,200 Filipino workers daily at Manila’s international airport and 600 at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

The last reported batch of returning Filipino workers included 150 Filipino seafarers of bulk and cargo vessels from Norway who arrived on Sunday.

The pandemic has infected 7.1 million and killed more than 400,000 people worldwide, according to the Worldometers website, citing various sources including data from the World Health Organization.

DFA said 5,392 Filipinos abroad have been infected — 2,791 patients were being treated, 2,231 have recovered, and 370 have died. — Charmaine A. Tadalan