PH Embassy in London raises concerns over deaths of 20 Filipino health workers in UK

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2020   •   595

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Embassy in London has raised its concerns for the welfare of thousands of Filipino nurses in the United Kingdom after 20 of them have died amid the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.

In a statement, the Philippine Embassy said it has brought to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK the concerns of Filipino health workers such as the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE), especially for those who are assigned in COVID-19 wards.

“We are deeply concerned about the deaths of Filipino health workers who sacrificed their lives as the world continues to fight this vicious disease. They put their lives on the line so that others may heal, live, and be reunited with their loved ones,” Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo said.

As of April 20, around 20 Filipino healthcare workers in the UK have died due to the viral respiratory disease.

Majority of those who passed away worked in hospitals across England, which registered the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the UK at 93,030 out of  124,73 lab-confirmed cases and 14,828 out of 16,509 hospital deaths.

The embassy said the deaths of Filipino medical workers due to COVID-19 “have caused a stir among British society since it is well known that Filipinos represent the third biggest group of National Health Service (NHS) staff after the British and Indians.”

Citing a March 2019 report on the NHS’ workplace diversity, the embassy said that close to 19,000 Filipinos serve the UK’s public health system either as medical professionals such as nurses and allied health professionals or as support staff.

The embassy said that various independent fundraisers have been organized by friends and family of those who succumbed to the disease.

Other Filipino community organizations have also contributed to support those who continue to fight at the frontlines, including the provision of face masks and hot meals.

The embassy said its frontline consular services have been suspended but its consular section, as well as the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), continue to coordinate with Filipino community organizations in extending assistance and monitoring the condition of those severely affected by the disease.

The embassy also assured it is implementing measures that safeguard public health and that it will continue to render assistance to distressed Filipino citizens in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Former gov’t COVID-19 special adviser calls for voluntary ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   August 4, 2020

Dr. Tony Leachon

MANILA, Philippines — Former Covid-19 National Task Force Adviser Dr. Tony Leachon said he recommended the re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila when he was invited to the Malacañan Palace on July 15.

Last weekend, medical professionals expressed the same recommendation to the national government in hopes of stopping the mounting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

But because of economic considerations, the government has decided to reinforce modified ECQ instead.

Leachon said he welcomes this decision.

“The MECQ has activity and mobility of 50 percent. It will not totally stop the transmission,” he noted.

“But we will observe in the next two weeks whether the MECQ will arrest the transmission,” he added.

He explained that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is alarming considering that there are unreported cases, or even deaths linked to the new coronavirus.

“When they go to the emergency room they are severely sick then would be intubated and they die, or they are rejected from the hospital so they die at home, or they don’t have access to RT-PCR because it’s expensive” Leachon explained.

So ang daming namamatay diyan na ganyan (So, many cases die that way )” he added.

At this point of the pandemic, Leachon is calling on the public to submit themselves to a voluntary ECQ especially the old and the sick.

Tayo na ang magboluntaryo mismo na huwag na tayo makadagdag. Ang lumabas na lang ay iyong talagang kailangang lumabas, iyong 50% ng workforce (Let’s take it upon ourselves not to add to the problem. Only those who need to go out should be outside, such as 50% of the workforce),” Leachon advised.

“Pero iyong iba, iyong 25% doon sa GCQ ay huwag na po. Huwag na, kasi kapag nagkasakit kayo wala ng pera nga ang government tapos baka magkasakit pa ang mga doktor (But others, the 25% in the GCQ areas, it’s better not to go out. Refrain from going out because once you get sick, the government no longer has funds and worse, the doctors might get sick as well)” he stressed.

Dr. Leachon also highlights the importance of adhering to the minimum health standards, including wearing a face mask and face shield, and using disinfectant for protection. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

‘No need to panic buy,’ Palace reminds public

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

Consumers in Metro Manila flocked to grocery stores after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night, approved the reversion of some areas to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in response to the medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout”.

This prompted Malacañang on Monday to remind the public not to panic buy amid the implementation of MECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying. Supplies are high, delivered in supermarkets in anticipation of bigger demand prior to MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Palace official reiterated that only essential establishments will remain open including supermarkets, banks, and hospitals. He also said that the “time out” will be used to strengthen the government’s testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19.

“This is primarily to accede to the demand of the frontliners for a break. A ‘time out,'” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

PLM on 2-week lockdown over rise in COVID-19 cases among staff

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

The Pamantasang Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) will be placed under a two-week lockdown due to the high number of staff that tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“There are currently four confirmed cases, with two recovered patients and one fatality among employees. There are also three probable and one suspect cases,” PLM President Emmanuel Leyco said in a statement.

BREAKING: Mayor Isko approves two-week quarantine at PLM amid rising COVID-19 casesManila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko…

Posted by Manila Public Information Office on Sunday, August 2, 2020

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has approved their request and the PLM management will be adopting a strict work-from-home arrangement for employees for the next two weeks.

“As a University which produces doctors, nurses and medical professionals, we believe it is necessary to respond to the public health crisis by listening to science and the inputs of medical experts,” Leyco said. AAC

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