The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said yesterday it would study the possibility of suspending anew the deployment of healthcare workers (HCWs) abroad in the wake of a new coronavirus variant in other countries.
“Our policy at present, according to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and approved by our President last December was the lifting of the temporary suspension and that is what we are studying every now and then, especially now there is a new strain,” POEA chief Bernard Olalia said in a Laging Handa briefing.
Olalia said the agency would hold consultations with concerned sectors regarding the measure.
“We will conduct a strict study and asked for the opinion of the expert at we will also have a comprehensive consultation with those involved in the sending of HCWs abroad,” he added.
Olalia said the recommendation would depend on the result of the nationwide consultation or the comprehensive consultation with the affected sectors.
“We will make a recommendation to our Secretary of Labor and then he will submit it to IATF if there is a need to implement a suspension on our deployment. We will only implement a temporary suspension for the benefit of our OFWs and looking after their health,” Olalia added.
Last month, POEA has officially lifted the temporary ban on the deployment of nurses, nursing aides, and nursing assistants.
Earlier, the government has banned the sending of medical sector workers to ensure that the country has an adequate number of HCWs to respond to the pandemic.
As a precautionary measure, the Philippines also recently imposed a temporary ban on the entry of foreigners from countries that have reported cases of the new coronavirus variant, such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong SAR, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, and Spain.
Starting today until Jan. 15, foreigners from six other countries – Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil – would also be banned from entering the country.
Foreign passengers coming from, or who have been to these six countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, will be prohibited from entering the country from 12:01 this morning until Jan. 15.
Foreign passengers coming from, or who have been to these countries/jurisdictions within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, arriving before 12:01 a.m. today will be allowed to enter the Philippines.
However, they will be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtain a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result.
Filipino citizens coming from, or who have been to these countries/jurisdictions, within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those arriving after today will be allowed to enter the Philippines.
They will be required though to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtain a negative RT-PCR test result.*PNA