Coronavirus hits 41 OFWs since start of Hong Kong's 5th COVID wave – DOLE | Global News
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Coronavirus hits 41 OFWs since start of Hong Kong’s 5th COVID wave – DOLE

/ 03:26 PM February 21, 2022
Coronavirus hit 41 OFWs since start of Hong Kong's fifth COVID wave – DOLE

A medical worker looks on at a designated clinic for Covid-19 patients in Hong Kong’s Shau Kei Wan area on February 19, 2022, as the city faces its worst Covid-19 coronavirus wave to date. (Photo by Bertha WANG / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — Forty-one overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the “fifth wave” of infections there early February, according to an official from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Of the 41 OFWs, two are in the hospital while the rest are staying in quarantine facilities, DOLE International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) director Alice Visperas said in an online briefing on Monday.

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“Dun sa latest data natin, as of February 20…meron nang 41 cases na reported among our OFWs simula nung magsimula itong fifth wave [Based on our latest data, as of February 20…we have 41 cases reported among our OFWs],” Visperas said.

This figure, she noted, does not include OFWs still in their respective boarding houses who have yet to get tested or have yet to receive the result of their test.

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According to Visperas, most of the 41 OFWs who tested positive for the coronavirus have finished their contracts and are supposed to return home.

“’Di ba ang requirement ng gobyerno natin ay 48 hours prior to departure na-test ka na sa COVID-19. So ang ginagawa nila dahil nagtitipid sila, dun sila sa government facility nagpapa-test sa COVID-19. And habang wala pang resulta nagpupunta na sila sa airport sa [Hong Kong]. Pagdating dun sa airport, lalabas ‘yung resulta na sila ay COVID positive,” she explained.

(The requirement of the Philippine government, is to present a negative result of a COVID-19 test taken 48 hours prior to departure. So what others do is they would undergo testing in a government facility to save money. While the result is still pending they would already head to the airport. Once at the airport, it would turn out they are COVID positive.)

She said this poses a problem since most of the hospitals in Hong Kong are filled amid the rising number of infections there.

READ: How COVID-wracked Hong Kong is reeling two years into pandemic
READ: Hong Kong considers mass testing as COVID fight intensifies

There is also a lack of ambulances that would ferry COVID-positive individuals to the hospitals, she added.

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Visperas said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Hong Kong immediately coordinated with the health protection bureau there as well as non-governmental organizations to locate OFWs needing assistance so they can be transported to quarantine facilities.

Further, she said the POLO also provided financial assistance worth up to $400, food, medicine, and power banks to the affected OFWs.

At present, there are over 220,000 OFWs in Hong Kong, most of whom are domestic workers, Visperas noted.

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KGA

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