DA bans poultry products from Czech Republic due to H5N8 bird flu

Marje Pelayo   •   February 10, 2020   •   1484

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday (February 7) temporarily banned the entry of poultry and wild birds from the Czech Republic in a step to keep the Philippines free of the highly pathogenic H5N8.

DA Memorandum Order 13, Series of 2020, banned the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products from the Central European country after it declared an outbreak of the said highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) specifically in Stepanov nad Svratkou, Zdar nad Sazavou, Vysocina.

The ban covers poultry products such as poultry meat, avian semen, day-old chicks, wild and domestic chicks.

Likewise, the DA also suspended all applications and evaluations of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance to the banned products from Czech Republic.

All DA veterinary quarantine officers were ordered to stop all shipments of the said banned products at all major ports in the country.

Prior to the ban, the DA had ordered a temporary ban on the entry of wild birds and other poultry products from Poland also because of the H5N8 outbreak.

Philippines includes Czech Republic in travel ban list

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the Czech Republic are temporarily banned from entering the country.

According a statement from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, the inclusion of Czech Republic in the Philippines’ travel ban list is relative to the detection of the COVID-19 UK variant in the country.

This means foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the Czech Republic within fourteen (14) days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines are not allowed entry effective January 28, 2021, 12:01 AM, Manila time until January 31, 2021.

Meanwhile effective immediately, foreign passengers coming from, or who have been to the Czech Republic within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, arriving before January 28, 2021, 12:01AM, Manila time, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.

Also, effective immediately, Filipino citizens coming from, or who have been to the Czech Republic, within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those arriving after January 28, 2021, 12:01AM, Manila time, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.

As a standard procedure, passengers who are allowed entry to the Philippines need to undergo RT-PCR test upon their arrival. 

They have to be quarantined until the result of a subsequent RT-PCR test, which is administered on the fifth day of the quarantine is released. 

Those who tested negative from both RT-PCR tests will be endorsed to their respective local government units, which will strictly monitor the remainder of their 14-day quarantine.

Filipino and foreign passengers merely transiting through the Czech Republic shall be covered by the rules as provided in the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated December 31, 2020.

To date, the ban on foreign travelers now covers 36 countries and territories following confirmation of the presence of new COVID-19 variants: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Hungary and Czech Republic.

Philippines now free of H5N6 bird flu – DA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is now free of Avian Influenza (AI) or bird flu, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the DA announced that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) declared the country free of the last remaining A(H5N6) strain of Avian Influenza on January 8, 2021.

The department said the country was able to resolve the outbreaks of AI A(H5N6) in a commercial layer poultry farm in Pampanga, and backyard poultry farms in a village in Rizal, in less than a year after the poultry virus reemerged in the country.

In its report to the OIE, the DA Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) said the affected farms showed no further evidence of the presence of the AI virus during the monitoring and surveillance.

“We had not detected any case of AI A(H5N6) among the poultry and other bird population in the last 90 days after the completion of cleaning and disinfection in the affected farms, surveillance and monitoring, and completion of the 35-day restocking period with sentinel animals in Pampanga and Rizal,” the DA-BAI said.

The recurrence of A(H5N6) was confirmed by the DA-BAI Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory on July 10, 2020, after the owner of the commercial layer farm notified the Pampanga provincial veterinary office about the sudden drop in egg production, cyanosis (dark bluish or purplish coloration of the skin and mucous membranes in chickens), and mortalities.

Another case was detected in Rizal, as reported by a farmer on August 26, 2020, to the municipal veterinary office of Taytay.

The backyard farm had approximately 500 heads of free-range chicken and 300 heads of Muscovy ducks. The clinical signs — such as wry neck or torticollis, cyanosis of extremities — and death were observed since August 10, 2020.

As a result of the swift action of the farm owners, sanitary control and containment operations to prevent the further spread of the virus were carried out immediately, the DA said.

“We appreciate the rapid response and collaboration of the local government units of Pampanga and Rizal and DA Regional Field Offices III and IV-A,” the DA-BAI said.

The agency also thanked the affected farmers — for their prompt reporting that led to the early containment of the disease — the poultry stakeholders, and partners from the Department of Health for extending support to the prevention and control of AI.

To recall, the Philippines also resolved the outbreak cases in 2017 and in 2018.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said this is a welcome development considering that poultry meat is a highly popular animal protein source among Filipinos, like pork and beef.

“I congratulate the DA-BAI and the local governments of Pampanga and Rizal, whose swift action resulted in limiting the further spread of the AI A(H5N6) strain to other areas,” Dar said.

The DA-BAI, however, reminds poultry farmers and industry stakeholders to remain vigilant and report any unusual mortalities to their respective farm veterinarians or nearest government veterinary or agriculture office.

Filipino workers in Czech Republic to enjoy minimum wage increase starting January 2021

Marje Pelayo   •   December 14, 2020

Workers in the Czech Republic, including Filipino workers, will receive an increase in their monthly minimum wage starting January 2021.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced the good news as the Republic’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs emphasized that workers will receive a monthly minimum wage of 15,200 Czech Koruna (CZK) up to 30,400 CZK, based on the worker’s job classification. 

Starting next year, the following monthly rates will apply to workers with a specified weekly working time of 40 hours:  

CZK 15,200 (P33,000) for kitchen helpers, seamstresses, cleaners, delivery man (1st classification of jobs)  

CZK 16,800 (P37,000) for diggers, scaffolders, maids, traffic aids or asphalt layers (2nd classification of jobs)  

CZK 18,500 (P40,000) for bricklayers, plumber, plumber and heating engineers, waiter, bartender, barber (3rd classification of jobs)  

CZK 20,500 (P45,000) for guide and interpreters, specialist chef, tailor in model and custom productions (4th classification of jobs)  

CZK 22,600 (P49,000) for bus drivers, dispatchers, paramedics, general nurses, midwives, accountants market researchers, kindergarten teachers (5th classification of jobs)  

CZK 24,900 (P53,000) for sales clerks, special pedagogues, network administrators, and IT system creators (6th classification of jobs)  

CZK 27,500 (P60,000) for financial experts, doctors, pharmacists, marketing experts or programmers (7thclassification of jobs)  

CZK 30,400 (P67,000) for experts in financial and businesses organizations, and scientists (8th classification of jobs) 

Meanwhile, the new minimum wage rates are still subject to deductions for income tax and social security contributions.

The said increase in the minimum wage was made by the Government of Czech in consideration to the demand of the union and the business sector in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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