Last February 2, the Philippine government imposed an expanded travel ban on visitors from China, Hong Kong, and Macau in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to contain the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
This is in response to the public outcry and growing panic among the people since the confirmation of the first nCoV-positive cases in the country, followed by the recent death of a Chinese national who tested positive to the virus.
OFWs Affected by Travel Ban to Get Financial Aid from DOLE
In line with this, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the temporary travel ban due to novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China will be entitled to receive PHP 10,000 cash aid and other assistance, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), as shared in a report by the Philippine News Agency.
In a memorandum released by the labor department, acting DOLE Secretary Renato Ebarle directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide monetary assistance to each stranded Filipino worker.
In addition to this, the OWWA has also been directed to provide accommodation and transport assistance to the OFWs affected by the temporary travel ban.
According to Ebarle, the move will help ease the burden on would-be departing workers and assist them in their transport back to their places of origin.
Furthermore, stranded Filipino workers can stay at the OWWA halfway house while waiting for their trip back to their respective provinces, Ebarle added.
The acting labor secretary issued the memorandum upon the instruction of DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III who is still in Kuwait.
Over the weekend through Monday, hundreds of OFWs bound mostly for Hong Kong and Macao were stranded at the Manila airports following the travel ban imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Accordingly, the temporary travel ban was ordered as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City in Hubei province, China.
On Monday (February 3), China’s National Health Commission reported that the death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak climbed to 361.
In a statement that followed, the commission said it has so far received a total of 17,205 confirmed cases, adding a total of 57 people who died over the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the number of people with the virus detected outside of China’s mainland reached 15 in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and eight in the Macau Special Administrative Region.
Furthermore, there have also been reported cases in Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, the US, France, Germany, North Korea, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Vietnam, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Russia, Nepal, Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Finland, and India.
In response to the situation, the Department of Justice announced that a special team of immigration officers will handle procedures for Filipinos who would be repatriated from Hubei province in China to prevent the possible entry of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) into the country.
Based on a resolution issued by the inter-agency body on the nCoV led by the Department of Health (DOH), the repatriates will be subjected to 14 days of mandatory quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines.