3 OFWs in Saudi Arabia found positive for MERS-CoV

admin   •   March 7, 2015   •   2603

FILE PHOTO: Captured image at NAIA thermal scanner in March 2014 (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that two nurses and a respiratory technician working in Saudi Arabia had been tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV).

One of the nurses is 56 years old and worked at the emergency room; the second one was assigned at the oncology section.

“Our embassy in Riyadh confirmed that 3 Filipinos are infected with MERSCOV in Saudi Arabia,” DFA Spokesperson Charles Jose said in an interview.

The hospitals where the three Filipinas worked were not named.

The 56-year old nurse is now in isolation and the other two are undergoing examinations to arrest the deadly disease.

“Our embassy in Riyadh and our Consulate General in Jeddah will continue to monitor the new Filipino MERS cases as well to encourage our nationals in Saudi Arabia to take extra precautionary measures,” Jose said.

It was learned that they were infected by patients with MERS-CoV who were also confined in the hospitals they were working in.

The DFA is coordinating with the families of the patients to inform them of their condition.

Their employers will be covering their medical expenses.

The DFA reminded our fellow Filipinos working in the Middle East, especially health workers, to follow infection prevention protocols in hospitals to avoid being infected with MERS-CoV and other diseases.

Last month, a Filipina nurse who returned to the country was tested positive for MERS-CoV.

After several weeks of treatment at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), she recovered and has been released from the hospital.

The DFA once again appealed to our countrymen in the Middle East who will be returning to the Philippines to undergo examinations before travelling to make sure that the deadly virus will not enter the country. (Joan Nano / UNTV News)

12th batch of distressed overseas Filipinos in Saudi Arabia arrives in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2020

The 12th batch of distressed Overseas Filipinos (OFs) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) arrived in the Philippines on Thursday (October 15), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

A total of 341 distressed OFs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The repatriates already underwent COVID-19 RT-PCR testing and will be staying under hotel quarantine until their test results come out negative.

The DFA began its mass repatriation efforts in February to assist OFs affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The DFA has already repatriated more than 4,200 Filipinos from Riyadh and the eastern regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. AAC

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RITM labs hit over quarter-million COVID-19 tests

Maris Federez   •   September 12, 2020

MUNTINLUPA CITY, Philippines – The Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM) has reported that its testing laboratories have hit a quarter of a million coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests with 251,583 samples processed since January 20. 

In a statement released on Saturday (September 12), RITM Director Celia Carlos attributed their accomplishment to the hard work of their research team.

“This milestone is largely possible through the dedication and commitment of our Laboratory Research Division,” Carlos said.

“To date, we have deployed more than 500 laboratory personnel who tirelessly work across 12-hour shifts daily,” she added. 

The RITM also reported that, with the surging number of cases, it “has activated three testing streams involving several departments and reference laboratories to accommodate specimens within its catchment areas in the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 4A, and Region 4B.” 

“We test a total of 2,000 to 2,500 nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal specimens per day. This is part of our institutional augmented response where laboratory departments are collaborating to deliver and perform heightened COVID-19 testing,” explained Dr. Carlos.  

To further expand the COVID-19 testing capacity of the country, the RITM is likewise heavily involved in the evaluation of applicant laboratories across all 17 regions.

As of September 4, the Institute has assisted in the accreditation of 117 rRT-PCR and cartridge-based PCR labs which have tested 251,583 samples which correspond to 210,031 individuals by September 8. — /mbmf

354 distressed OFWs from Saudi Arabia set to arrive in PHL – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Some 354 distressed overseas Filipino workers repatriated from Saudi Arabia are set to arrive in the country on Wednesday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the group of repatriated Filipinos is expected to land in Manila on Wednesday afternoon onboard a chartered flight.

In a report to Bello, Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa said majority of the passengers are distressed OFWs from Philippine Overseas Labor Office’s Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh, and from temporary shelters maintained by the POLOs in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.

Also included in the flight are 12 workers from Jussur Emdad, 45 workers from Arkad Co., as well as 14 OFWs previously employed by Abdullah Aldossary, Azmeel Contracting Co., Rakan Trading, which are all based in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.

These OFWs joined a number of OFWs who have worked for Freyssinet, Jussur Emdad, Samana Company and Rent Human Resources as well as walk-in OFWs whose exit visas were facilitated by the labor office in Riyadh, Bello added.

The labor chief said he has instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide all necessary assistance to the returning Filipino workers.

The repatriation of the OFWs is in line with the department’s efforts to provide assistance to OFWs adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, some of our OFWs have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and we hope that our repatriation efforts would bring them comfort as they will soon join their families and loved ones,” Bello said.

DOLE also reported that so far, more than 111,400 returning OFWs have been transported to their respective provinces.

The last batch of OFWs to be sent home are 3,035 workers who took their rides in OWWA-arranged buses and other means of transportation on Monday.  


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