The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) threat has affected the deployment of overseas Filipino workers, particularly new hires, to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on February 24, 2020.
“Bumaba ‘yung mga bago (There are less newly-hired OFWs). (I think) they are also taking necessary precautions especially that they also got financial assistance,” Bello said in an interview.
Bello said some of them are still monitoring developments in the areas hit by the disease.
“They are taking their time to find out any developments. I think it is also because some of them still have enough funds. Some employers in Hong Kong were kind enough to give extended leave (to their employees),” he added.
The Philippine government earlier imposed a travel ban on Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, the travel ban to Taiwan was lifted on February 14 while only OFWs are allowed to travel to the two Chinese territories effective February 18.
The government earlier has provided more than PHP80 million in cash assistance to OFWs affected by the travel ban to the three areas.
However, OFWs bound for Hong Kong and Macao are required to sign a document indicating their awareness of the Covid-19 threat.
They are also directed to comply with the medical and health protocol in the Philippines and the country/territory where they are staying in. (PNA)