26 more Filipino nurses in UK contract COVID — DOLE
MANILA, Philippines — At least 26 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded among Filipino nurses in the United Kingdom, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported Wednesday.
Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in London to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, DOLE said the 26 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the last two days pushed the total of stricken nurses to 776.
It was not clear, however, if the recently reported cases were of the new COVID-19 variant in the country but Labor Attache Amy Reyes noted that the UK’s National Health Services (NHS) hospitals are “under extreme pressure due to the surge of the cases.”
The fresh cases of COVID-19 were part of the increase in infections in the UK, Reyes also said in POLO’s report.
She said the UK’s cases hiked to 53,135 with 414 deaths from the 41,385 infections and 357 casualties in “the previous days.”
According to Reyes, the 25 infected Filipino nurses and one health worker are now under isolation and are being given assistance.
She added that nine of those infected were deployed in the UK only this year while the rest had been working in Britain since 2019.
In her report, the labor official said two other nurses, who were previously infected, have already recovered while 36 have died.
Two other Filipinos and one healthcare worker, who are long-time UK residents, are in critical condition, she added.
“We are sad to note that the new wave of infection in the UK involves more of our frontline Filipino workers,” Bello said.
In a separate report to Bello, Labor Attache Saul de Vries of POLO Singapore said the 405 COVID-19 cases among Filipinos have so far been recorded there with two new cases involving newly arrived overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
De Vries told Bello that Singapore was to begin vaccination on Wednesday with healthcare workers the first to be inoculated to address its 58,542 COVID-19 cases.
Other foreign posts of the labor department in Europe and Canada also recorded spikes in COVID-19 cases, according to DOLE.
In Canada, for instance, DOLE said the POLO in Vancouver reported that the new COVID-19 variant found in the UK “is now in four parts of Canada, including British Columbia and Alberta.”
The Philippines initially banned the entry of travelers from the UK to prevent possible transmission.
The government then expanded its ban to 19 other countries until Jan. 15 next year. OFWs in these countries, however, will still be allowed to come home.
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