Travel ban lifted for OFWs bound for Hong Kong, Macau

File Photo

STRANDED migrant Filipino workers with jobs in Hong Kong and Macau may now report back to work as the government task force on Covid-19 has agreed to exempt them from the travel ban.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Brigido Dulay, in a Twitter post on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease lifted the travel ban for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returning to work in the two Chinese regions.

Hong Kong and Macau are both special administrative regions of China. They were included in the travel ban imposed by the task force as a preventive measure against the new coronavirus, an infectious pathogen that causes the respiratory disease Covid-19.

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., in a separate Twitter post, said returning migrant workers to Hong Kong and Macau will sign health waivers although the Philippine government will not waive its obligation to take care of them.

"Don't worry, they'll sign health waivers but we won't waive our obligation to take care of them wherever they are. We at DFA are not cowards or shirkers. They are our people and we will never ever abandon them," Locsin said.

Locsin has been advocating for the lifting of the travel ban for migrant workers, arguing that they would receive better health care in Hong Kong and Macau.

As of February 17, 2020, no confirmed Covid-19 patient was confined anywhere in the Philippines although there were 171 patients under investigation who are in isolation in various hospitals. A total of 350 patients have been discharged.

Globally, the total number of infected persons increased to 71,429 as of February 17, 2020, including 1,775 deaths mostly in China. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)


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