MORE than 7,700 migrant Filipino workers came home last week amid a coronavirus pandemic that has sickened 43.4 million and killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

The agency helped arrange 28 commercial flights to bring home 6,344 Filipino workers from the Middle East, 5,162 of whom came from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, it said in a statement on Sunday night.

It said 312 stranded students also returned from Israel on Oct. 21 and 24.

The Oct. 21 flight was chartered by the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv and the MASHAV aid agency.

The returning students were under an agricultural internship program of MASHAV, Israel’s agency for international development cooperation.

This brings the total beneficiaries of DFA’s repatriation program to 231,026 Filipino migrants since February — 154,957 land-based workers and 76,069 seafarers.

Last week’s repatriation also brought home 851 overseas Filipinos from Asia and the Pacific and 534 from Europe and three from the Americas.

On top of this, medical repatriations were also conducted from Texas, the United States and Australia.

“The DFA continues to stand ready to bring home our fellow Filipinos wherever and whenever possible,” the agency said.

It added that more than 11,100 Filipinos overseas have been infected with the coronavirus, 3,100 of whom were being treated, 7,200 have recovered and 815 died. — Charmaine A. Tadalan