COVID vaccination not a condition for Singapore-bound OFWs — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   June 8, 2021   •   254

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Singapore are not required to get inoculated against COVID-19 before they are allowed into the city-state.

Labor Attaché in Singapore Saul De Vries said that vaccines are not part of the arrival protocols in the city-state but still the government of Singapore is implementing strict quarantine protocols due to the recurrence of COVID-19 cases.

“It is not a condition for OFWs to be inoculated before departing for their jobs. However, the Singapore government requires them to undergo a 21-day institutional quarantine and take RT-PCR test thrice,” De Vries said.

Following the recurrence of cases, De Vries said the Singapore government has temporarily suspended the entry approval applications of foreign workers from high-risk countries.

“Hopefully, such regulation or policy will be reviewed this coming July when cases of COVID-19 infection have slowed down,” he added.

Based on the Labor Department’s records, there are around 200,000 Filipinos in Singapore, 180,000 of whom consist of professionals, skilled workers, household service workers, healthcare workers, and those working in the service sector of the tourism and information technology industries.

De Vries also announced that POLO-Singapore has recently approved over 200 job orders (JOs) for vaccinators with a monthly salary, ranging from 1,800 to 2,000 SGD or equivalent to a little over P63,000.

“Aside from the 200 vaccinators, the demand for household service workers is still high in Singapore,” he added.

While it is not mandatory for OFWs to be vaccinated before they enter Singapore, De Vries said that migrant workers are included in the vaccination program of the government. OFWs are therefore highly encouraged to get inoculated, as this is the best way to fight the spread of the virus.

“I believe that most, if not all, of our OFWs in the healthcare industry have already been vaccinated, since they are included in the priority group listing,” De Vries said.

Despite the scaling down of POLO operations in Singapore, the office managed to distribute financial assistance of $200 or P10,000 under DOLE’s Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program to OFWs who either lost their jobs or experienced wage reduction, as well as those who contracted COVID-19.

Food packs, essential hygiene kits as well as physical and mental health and wellness activities have been provided for migrant Filipino workers especially the distressed ones to help them cope with their daily lives while community quarantines are enforced.

Manila City allows walk-ins in all vaccination sites

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA Philippines — The Manila City Government on Monday (June 21) now allow walk-ins in all vaccination sites.

According to Manila Public Information Office (MPIO), the directive of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno was after having a low turnout in vaccination sites. The mayor said he directed not to allow walk-ins in order to prove to critics the effect if the system would only be done through scheduling.

“I’m not a believer of scheduling but we tried it today para doon sa mga may mema, iyong  may masabi lang ang naggagaling-galingan lang (for those who just wanted to complain),” he said.

The Manila local government reported that only 4,210 doses were administered on Monday (June 21) from the 28,000 allocated doses. AAC

70-M vaccination target maaabot sa pagdating ng dagdag na COVID-19 vaccine supply – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Naniniwala ang pamahalaan na maaabot ng bansa ang target nitong mabakunahan ang nasa 70 milyong adult population bago matapos ang taon dahil sa inaasahang delivery ng dagdag na supply ng Pfizer at iba pang COVID-19 vaccine brands.

Ayon kay Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, nakapag-secure na ang pamahalaan ng 40 milyong dose ng bakuna mula sa Pfizer bukod pa sa inaasahang delivery ng iba pang COVID-19 vaccine brand sa mga susunod na buwan.

Sa ulat ng National Task Force against COVID-19, bukod sa Pfizer vaccines ay 26 milyon pa ang inaasahang supply mula sa Sinovac, 10 milyon ang Sputnik V mula sa Gamaleya Research Institute, 20 milyon mula sa Moderna, at 17 milyon mula sa AstraZeneca. May parating ding donasyon na 1 milyong Sinovac at 44 milyon ng COVID-19 vaccine mula sa COVAX facility.

“Sumatotal, ngayong mayroon tayong inaasahan na 158 million doses, sapat-sapat na po para sa kabuuan ng ating populasyon,” ani Roque.

Ngayong may malaking supply na inaasahan ang bansa, kampante ang pamahalaan na mababakunahan ang mayorya ng populasyon sa bansa bago matapos ang 2021.

“Kung 500,000 per day po yan, 10 days is 5 million. So kinakailangan lang po natin 20 days para po maubos yung first dose ng dumating na 40 million na Pfizer,” ang wika ni Roque.

Sa ngayon ay nasa 8.40 milyong doses na ng COVID-109 vaccine ang nai-administer sa bansa.

Noong June 15 naman ay naitala ang pinakamataas na vaccination rate sa Pilipinas sa loob ng isang araw na umanot sa 322,929 doses. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Pagbabantay sa PH borders, mas hihigpitan vs COVID-19 Delta variant — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Mas hihigpitan pa ang gagawing pagbabantay sa lahat ng border sa bansa, mula sa mga paliparan, pantalan hanggang sa mga boundary ng bawat lugar sa Pilipinas, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, naabisuhan na ang lahat ng lokal na pamahalaan para sa paghihigpit sa kani-kanilang mga border upang mapigilan ang pagkalat ng Delta variant, isang uri ng COVID-19 na mas nakakakahawa kumpara sa ibang variant.

“Nasa heightened alert po lahat. Lahat ng local governments were informed, lahat po ng mga regional offices were informed na kailangan bantayan maigi ang Delta Variant across our borders,” ani Vergeire.

Ayon sa opisyal, mas paiigtingin pa ng pamahalaan ang pagpapatupad ng COVID-19 testing at quarantine protocols, at contact tracing pati na ang pagpapalawig sa entry ban sa mga magmumula sa bansang India, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, at Nepal hanggang June 30.

“We are going to uphold the directive of the IATF as well as the Office of the President. This is because we want to prevent further entry of this Delta Variant,” ani Vergeire.

“We cannot have non-uniformity in the implementation of our border control. So iyan po napag-usapan, napagkasunduan, nakausap na rin po ang mga officials, regional directors ng iba’t ibang ahensya last Saturday,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang mas mahigpit na border control sa Pilipinas ay kasunod ng pahayag ng World Health Organization na ang Delta variant na ang dominant variant ng COVID-19 matapos itong mapaulat sa mahigit 80 bansa.

Ang Delta variant ay unang natuklasan sa bansang India.

Sa Pilipinas, 17 na ang kabuuang kaso ng Delta COVID-19 variant matapos itong madagdagan nang magpositibo sa naturang variant ang apat na returning overseas Filipino mula sa South Korea at Saudi Arabia.

Iniulat din ng DOH na 14 na dagdag na kaso ng Alpha variant (United Kingdom), at 21 Beta variant (South Africa) ang naitala sa bansa batay sa ulat ng Philippine Genome Center at ng UP-National Institutes of Health ngayong Lunes.

Ayon sa DOH, lubhang nakababahala kapag lalo pang kumalat sa bansa ang mga variant na ito, lalo na ang Delta variant, dahil mataas ang tiyansang maospital ang isang individwal na kakapitan nito.

“Walang sinabi sa mga ebidensyang nakalap natin, even our experts are saying, walang sinabi na deadly pero sinabi na mas nakakahawa talaga siya,” ani Vergeire.

“Ang delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant. So, ibig sabihin po kung ang alpha variant ay nakapanghahawa ng 4-5 tao per every individual infected, ang Delta Variant po can have 8 individual infected sa isang taong may sakit. So ganoon kabilis ang pagkakahawa kapag Delta Variant ang pinag-uusapan,” dagdag pa niya.

Muli ring paalala ng DOH sa publiko na mag-doble ingat at sundin ang ipinatutupad na health protocols kontra COVID-19. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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