10 Filipino frontliners in UK dead due to COVID-19 – DFA
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Embassy in London has so far recorded 10 COVID-related deaths among Filipino frontliners who worked for the United Kingdom’s the National Health Service (NHS).
In a statement on Monday, the DFA noted that around 23,300 Filipinos in the United Kingdom and Ireland are fighting on the frontlines in both countries’ battle against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We are deeply saddened by reports of Filipino staff who are either infected by COVID-19 or have succumbed to the disease. Our thoughts are with their loved ones,” Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom Antonio Lagdameo said.
“Filipino health workers have served tirelessly and courageously at the front lines of the war against this pandemic, and their contribution to the ongoing efforts to save lives is nothing but immense,” he added.
The DFA cited a 2019 report published by the NHS which showed that there are around 19,000 Filipinos who work for the NHS. The Filipino staff is one of the largest groups of NHS health workers.
The NHS is a publicly-funded healthcare system in England.
In Ireland, around 4,300 Filipino nurses make up the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) 65,000-strong health care workforce, the DFA added.
“Even with personal protective equipment (PPEs), there is still that feeling of vulnerability for myself, our patients and their loved ones, colleagues, and our families,” Katrina Albarico, a nurse in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was quoted as saying.
“The traditional nurse-patient relationship has changed as the anxiety is not more from the persons and their loved ones getting care but from the key workers as well in these unprecedented times. How we are still able to show resilience, care, and reassurance is beyond me,” she added.
The “outstanding care” and efforts of Filipino frontliners have earned praises from the British and Irish, the DFA said.
“Amazing number of Filipinos working in the NHS and unsung heroes like so many. It’s worth bearing in mind when we talk about immigrants in this country, these are the immigrants currently saving people’s lives,” British broadcaster Piers Morgan said during a recent episode of “Good Morning, Britain” as he recognized the contribution of Filipinos in the NHS.
“Coming here and actually enriching our country and doing an amazing job,” he added.
While the Philippine Embassy in London recorded at least 10 COVID-19-related deaths among Filipinos working in the NHS, there is so far no recorded deaths among Filipino front liners in Ireland’s HSE as of April 14.
The embassy temporarily suspended its frontline consular services due to measures undertaken by the host government to stop the spread of COVID-19.
But it assured that its Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) team works round the clock to respond to inquiries and to assist distressed Filipinos, especially those who contracted the disease.
Latest figures from the DFA, a total of 990 overseas Filipinos in 42 countries who have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Of that number, 584 Filipino patients are still undergoing treatment while 263 have already been discharged from hospitals or have recovered.
There are 143 fatalities recorded so far.
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