By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA (PNA) – A total of 41 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have so far been afflicted with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Hong Kong as the island continues to battle a fifth wave of infections fueled by the Omicron variant, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Monday.
“Those 41 cases, most of them are finished contracts…naturally when you have Covid-19 you can’t ride public transportation so they have to wait for the ambulance to come and get them. So this is probably what they say that they are on the street and they are waiting to be picked up by an ambulance,” Assistant Secretary and International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) chief Alice Visperas said in a virtual forum.
She reported that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the host territory has provided food, medicine, and cash assistance to the Filipinos, initially amounting to US$200 (around PHP10,000).
“Our POLO is currently finalizing the breakdown, but we were told this morning that more than half of them have finished their contracts already. Just a few numbers of them will be able to return to their employers,” Visperas said.
She added that out of the 41 cases, eight have recovered from Covid-19, three are going back to their employers, two have returned to their boarding house and three are ready to go back to the Philippines.
“The three will be able to return to their employers while the other two are just waiting for their final negative results, and they will also return to their employers,” the DOLE official said.
There are more than 220,000 OFWs in Hong Kong, and 90 percent of them are domestic workers, Visperas said.