Pinoy workers' return to virus-hit Hong Kong up to DOH: Labor chief


Posted at Feb 06 2020 11:43 AM

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Residents wearing masks and raincoats volunteer to take temperature of passengers following the outbreak of a new coronavirus at a bus stop at Tin Shui Wai, a border town in Hong Kong, China Feb. 4, 2020. Tyrone Siu, Reuters

MANILA — The health department will decide whether or not to allow the return of vacationing Filipino workers to Hong Kong, which is included in a temporary travel ban by the Philippines due to a new coronavirus outbreak, Labor Secretary Sillvestre Bello III said Thursday. 

Hong Kong Labor Secretary Law Chi-Kwong earlier asked Manila to allow Filipino workers to return to the Chinese territory, which reported its first coronavirus death this week. 

"Hintayin po natin ang abiso ni Secretary [Francisco Duque ng Health. Siya ang may kapasidad, kaalaman d'yan," Bello told radio DZMM. 

(Let's wait for the advisory of Secretary Duque of Health. He's the one with capability, knowledge there.) 

The labor department has given P10,000 each to workers stranded in the Philippines by the travel ban, he said. 

Hong Kong is host to some 240,000 Filipino workers, mostly domestic workers, according to government data. 

Two Filipinos there were quarantined following exposure to people who tested positive for the disease that has killed at least 580, mostly in the mainland. 

The novel coronavirus, which has infected 27,300, is believed to have emerged in December in a market that sold wild animals and spread rapidly as people traveled for the Lunar New Year holiday in January. With a report from Reuters