Quarantined OFW in Hong Kong tests negative for nCoV – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   February 7, 2020   •   1252

MANILA, Philippines – Hong Kong health authorities have released from quarantine one of the two Filipino domestic workers after she tested negative for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.

The Filipino worker was given a clean bill of health and is now discharged after the 14-day quarantine period, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Brigido Dulay said in a statement.

“She is now resting in her employer’s home which has been thoroughly sanitized by the Hong Kong Department of Health,” the DFA added.

The Filipino worker was quarantined after she was exposed to her employers who tested positive for the deadly virus.

The DFA said that although healthy and asymptomatic, the worker was put under quarantine after her employer became the second victim to test positive for nCoV outside mainland China.

Authorities earlier reported that another Filipino worker in Hong Kong is also being observed in a quarantine camp for coming in contact with her virus-infected employers.

No Filipinos reported affected by underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – No Filipino casualties have been reported following the massive underwater volcanic eruption that triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DFA said that as of January 18, the Philippine Embassy in Wellington has received no reports of casualties in the Filipino community in Tonga and Samoa.

The department said the Association of Filipinos in Tonga Inc. reached out to the Philippine Embassy in Wellington via email informing the latter that every Filipino citizen in the Kingdom of Tonga has been accounted for and that there are currently no casualties.

Internet and international calls, however, are still currently unavailable.

“As such, the Association of Filipinos in Tonga Inc. has requested the Philippine Embassy in Wellington to let their families know that our kababayans are safe,” the DFA said.

The department assured that the Philippine Embassy in Wellington is continuing to exhaust efforts to contact Filipinos in Tonga primarily through the use of its emergency satellite phone.

“Indications show that it might take two (2) weeks before the communications system is fully restored in Tonga,” it said.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, will continue to closely monitor the situation in Tonga, to ensure the continued safety of our kababayans,” it added.

The volcanic eruption in Tonga that occurred on Saturday triggered a tsunami that flooded parts of the Pacific island nation.

Labor dept asks employers to provide workers with paid isolation, quarantine leave benefits

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday urged employers in the private sector to provide paid leave benefits to workers who have to undergo isolation or quarantine period due to COVID-19.

In a labor advisory, DOLE said this is to “ensure safe and humane working conditions” amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

The labor department said employers in the private sector are encouraged to adopt and implement appropriate paid isolation and quarantine leave program, on top of the existing leave benefits under the company policy. Leave benefits under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Labor Code of the Philippines, and special laws should be separately applied.

“The paid isolation and quarantine leaves shall be without prejudice to other benefits provided by the Social Security System and the Employees Compensation Commission,” it added.

DOLE said its advisory applies to all establishments, employers, and their employees in the private sector.

Under the updated guidelines from the Department of Health, fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms need to isolate for seven days while those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated need to complete the isolation period for 10 days.

The isolation period for moderate cases is 10 days while those with severe and critical symptoms, and immunocompromised would have to isolate for 21 days.

The quarantine period for fully vaccinated asymptomatic close contacts has been shortened to five days.

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantine is for those who have been exposed and can possibly develop an infection.

DFA temporarily closes some passport service sites amid rising COVID cases

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday announced it will be temporarily closing some of its consular offices amid increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.

In an advisory, the DFA said its Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), Consular Offices (COs) and Temporary Off-Site Passport Services (TOPS) sites will temporarily suspend operations from January 10 to 20, 2022 due to the steep rise in COVID-19 cases among their personnel.

During the temporary suspension of operations, no passport or Apostille applications will be processed or released, the DFA said.

Operations shall resume on January 21, 2022.

Kindly direct any inquiries to the Consular Office where the application was filed, the department said.

The following offices will be closed from January 10 to 20:

  • CO La Union (January 10-14)
  • CO NCR East
  • CO NCR North
  • TOPS Robinsons Novaliches

The following offices will be closed from January 12 to 20, 2022:

  • DFA Office of Consular Affairs in Aseana Business Park, Paranaque City
  • CO NCR Central
  • CO NCR Northeast
  • CO NCR South
  • CO NCR West
  • CO Antipolo
  • CO Angeles
  • CO Baguio
  • CO Dasmarinas
  • CO Iloilo
  • CO Lucena
  • CO Malolos
  • CO San Pablo
  • TOPS Newport Mall
  • TOPS Robinsons Las Pinas
  • TOPS Robinsons San Pedro Laguna
  • TOPS SM Manila
  • TOPS SM MOA
  • TOPS SM North EDSA

Affected Passport and Apostille applicants originally scheduled from January 12 to 20, 2022 at DFA Aseana are advised to refer to their new schedule of appointments posted at the DFA website.

“Please expect an email with further details about your appointment which will be sent to the email address you used when you booked your application,” the DFA said.

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