THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has brought home more than 78,800 Filipino workers from overseas amid a coronavirus pandemic that has sickened 12.9 million and killed about 570,000 people worldwide.

“This week, DFA facilitated the return of 10,369 overseas Filipinos from various regions around the world,” it said in a statement on Saturday evening.

This brings the total beneficiaries to 78,809 since it started the repatriation program in February. Of the total, 37,166 were seafarers, while the remaining 41,634 were land-based workers.

The agency said it continues to facilitate more flights from the Middle East, which is home to more than two million Filipino migrant workers.

DFA said it had facilitated the repatriation of 6,681 Filipinos from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait in the past week.

The Middle East and Africa region posted the biggest number of Filipinos infected with the coronavirus — 6,379 cases as of July 11. Of the total, 3,832 have recovered, 2,221 were being treated and 326 died.

Among those who came home were 1,628 Filipino workers stranded in Hong Kong, the Maldives, Myanmar, South Korea and Sri Lanka, and 1,204 seamen from Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey.

DFA also mounted five chartered flights to bring home 1,323 Filipinos from Japan, Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, it said.

The agency said 8,804 migrant Filipinos have gotten the coronavirus — 2,944 were being treated, 5,266 have recovered and 594 died. — Charmaine A. Tadalan