No aid requests yet from Pinoys in Malaysia stricken with COVID-19 Delta variant: envoy
The Philippine embassy has yet to receive requests for hospitalization assistance from Filipinos who may be stricken with the Delta COVID-19 variant in Malaysia, an envoy of Manila said on Thursday.
Malaysia's COVID-19 outbreak is driven by the Delta variant. To date, authorities have reported about 951,000 cases and more than 7,400 deaths.
"With the emergence of the Delta variant, so far we have not received any request for hospitalization assistance from Filipinos who have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, especially by the Delta variant," said Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles Jose.
"We can say that they have been, most possibly, given hospitalization assistance for free by the Malaysia government," he said in a televised public briefing.
At least 1,135 Filipinos in Malaysia have caught COVID-19 since last year. A total of 671 have recovered while 13 have died, Jose said.
However, he admitted these figures were outdated because the Malaysian authorities forward updates directly to the Philippine health department.
The Malaysian government imposed a new nationwide lockdown to arrest the spread of COVID-19 at the start of June, dealing a fresh blow to the already struggling economy.
Some Filipinos have in the retail services and tourism sector lost their jobs as a result, said Jose.
"Kami po sa embassy, tumutulong po kami with the other attached agencies... We are trying to address ‘yong pinaka-basic need ng ating mga kababayan, which is 'yong pagkain," he said.
(We in the embassy help with the other attached agencies. We are trying to address the most basic need of our compatriots, which is food.)
"Every so often we try to mount food drives by distributing relief packages to the most affected and most vulnerable segment of our Filipino community dito sa (here in) Malaysia," added the ambassador.
Authorities are finalizing another round of distribution of food packs for 800 households, Jose said.
The embassy also offers shelter assistance, and may be reached online or through 4 hotlines, he said.
"Of course we also have to recognize na limited din po ang resources ng embassy. That’s why we have to prioritize ‘yong assistance na binibigay to the most vulnerable, doon po sa mga mas nangangailangan ng tulong," said the Philippine envoy.
"But gusto ko rin pong ipaalam na bukas ang embassy, marami pong paraan na ma-contact kami… Ipagbigay-alam lang po ninyo ang inyong pangangailangan at pipilitin po nating matugunan ito."
(That’s why we have to prioritize the assistance given to the most vulnerable, to those who need help the most. But I also want to say that the embassy is open, there are many ways to reach us. Just inform us about what you need and we will try to address this.)
– With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News and Agence France-Presse