Philippines stops health workers going abroad to fight coronavirus - GulfToday

Philippines stops health workers going abroad to fight coronavirus


A member of a medical team reacts at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport after travel restrictions to leave Wuhan on Wednesday. Reuters

Manolo B. Jara / Reuters

The Philippines has stopped doctors, nurses, medics and other healthcare workers from going abroad while it needs their skills to meet the threat of the coronavirus spreading at home, a foreign affairs official said.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration issued the order on April 2, though it was only made public on Friday.

The aim is "to prioritise human resource allocation for the national health care system," according to the resolution posted on Twitter by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay.

The ban will remain in place until the Philippines ends its state of emergency and countries that would hire the medical personnel lift their coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

As of Friday, the Philippines had recorded 4,195 cases of coronavirus, with 221 deaths.

The government has also suspended negotiations for bilateral labour agreements covering government-to-government deployment of health workers.

Close to 3,000 violators of the enhanced community quarantine or lockdown imposed have been arrested in just one day and considered the biggest since it was imposed to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus,  the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported on Friday.

The PNP Joint Task COVID-19 Shield clarified that actually the total number of those arrested stood at 2,996 or just four short of 3,000 for alleged violation of the lockdown rules like curfew and disobedience to authorities.

As a result, the task force reported that the total number of arrested since lockdown or its local version in certain areas soared to more than 100,000 from March 17 to April 9.

It added that Luzon led in the number of violators at 58,051, followed by Mindanao, 23,151 and the Visayas at 18,124.

The agency pointed out it was no surprise that Luzon  led the way in the number of  arrested violators mainly because President Duterte had ordered the extension of the lockdown to April 30 as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emeging Infectious Diseases.

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