POLOs report to Baldoz: No incidence of MERS-CoV

Date Posted: August 6th, 2014 04:15 AM


POLOs report to Baldoz: No incidence of MERS-CoV Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said she had received the report of the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices saying that no overseas Filipino worker (OFWs) deployed overseas has been afflicted with the viral respiratory illness, MERS-CoV. "The report of the POLOs, consolidated by the International Labor Affairs Bureau, covers the period April to June 2014. It says no OFW deployed overseas has been afflicted with the viral respiratory illness, MERS-CoV," said Baldoz, citing the report by the ILAB's Director Saul T. De Vries. In his report, De Vries said the 33 POLOs around the world have recorded a total of 26,621 OFWs returning to the country from April-June 2014. Of this total, there is no reported case of any OFW afflicted with the disease. “It is a relief to know that there are no more MERS-COV-related cases among our OFWs,” Baldoz said. Earlier this year, an OFW from Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and another one from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates died after having been afflicted with the disease. For this 'safe from MERS-CoV' record during the period, Baldoz credited the coordinative efforts done by the DOLE in order to protect OFWs from the dreaded disease. “I recall that upon President Aquino’s instructions, the DOLE worked with the Department of Health and the Bureau of Immigration to trace OFW passengers of Etihad Flight 0424 which arrived in Manila from Abu Dhabi reported to have an OFW-passenger afflicted with the virus. Through inter-agency collaboration, 404 of the 414 passengers were located and tested. Everyone showed no trace of the deadly virus,” Baldoz said. She also stated that as a preventive measure, the DOLE established a Daily Monitoring System where all POLOs were required to submit information on returning OFWs to the Philippines and on overseas employment certificates (OECs) issued at the Posts since March 2014. The DOLE also sent advisories on precautionary measures on how to prevent the spread of the virus. "This is also one of the measures we are taking with regards Ebola," said Baldoz, referring to the current health scare on the Ebola virus that has claimed the lives of over 800 people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in West Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded 699 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV worldwide, including at least 209 deaths. To assure OFWs of protection from MERS-CoV, including the Ebola virus and other emerging diseases, Baldoz said President Benigno S. Aquino III had signed on 26 May Executive Order No. 168 creating the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases (EID) in the country. One of the objectives in setting up the inter-agency task force is to educate the public on EID and its prevention, control, and management to promote positive health behaviors, and address public fear and anxiety through the conduct of a nationwide awareness campaign. "The DOLE, as a member of the task force, is doing its share of establishing preparedness and efficient response to assess, monitor, contain, control, and prevent any potential outbreak of potential epidemic in the country," Baldoz said. The DOH spearheads the task force, along with the Departments of Foreign Affairs; Interior and Local Government; Justice; Tourism; and Transportation and Communications as member-agencies. The creation of the interagency task force came at a time when international concern is mounting on the emergence of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Avian influenza, Ebola virus, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that have caused public health emergencies. “The international proliferation of these diseases persists due to increased globalization and mobility of travelers and products, and thus, threatens the lives and safety of Filipinos both here and abroad, as well as the Philippine economy in general,” the order reads. End/rhev

Created Aug 26th 2014, 14:38


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