South Korea has ‘entered war’ against coronavirus, says president

UNTV News   •   March 3, 2020   •   623

South Korean President Moon Jae-in

 South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday (March 3) that the country had ‘entered war’ against the coronavirus, as mass infections among a religious group and rapid spread of the disease threatened public health.

South Korea on Tuesday reported 600 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths from the virus, according to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Moon also apologised for the lack of mask supplies during a Cabinet meeting.

The epidemic is the largest outside of China, with most of them centered in the city of Daegu, where a branch of the Shincheonji church at the centre of the outbreak is based. Many of the cases following the country’s 31st patient had ties to the congregation there. (South Korean Presidential Office via Reuters Connect)

(Production: Chaeyoun Won, Heejung Jung)

PH to re-deploy OFWs after South Korea lifts restrictions – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers will soon be re-deployed to South Korea after entry restrictions into the country have been lifted, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

In a statement on Sunday, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he has directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to commence the processing of deployment of workers as he welcomed the South Korean government’s decision.

“This is a very good news not only to our EPS (entry permit system) workers and their families, but also to the Korean employers who have been waiting for our workers to return,” he said.

Last Friday, Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) announced it will allow the entry of workers under EPS from all sending countries, including the Philippines starting this November.

According to MOEL, the entry of EPS workers will be subject to pre-entry measures such as full vaccination and negative PCR test results, and post-entry measures such as mandatory quarantine and PCR testing.

The Korean Embassy in the Philippines said it is awaiting guidelines from the South Korean government on the issuance of E9 visas to Filipino EPS workers.

Bello said he has directed the POEA to immediately meet with the Korean government officials to discuss the requirements and procedures for the re-entry of EPS workers to Korea, in coordination with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.

Since 2004, the Philippines has been sending Filipino workers to Korea under a government-to-government cooperation agreement on EPS.

The deployment of workers was temporarily halted in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

WHO monitoring new coronavirus variant called ‘Mu’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 1, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is monitoring a new coronavirus variant called Mu.

According to the WHO bulletin on Tuesday (August 31), the Mu variant or B.1.621, has been classified as a “variant of interest.”

The variant was first detected in Columbia on January 2021 and was designated as a variant of interest on August 30, 2021.

Preliminary data showed that the Mu variant has the same behavior as the Beta variant. However, the WHO added that the data still needs to be confirmed by further studies.

“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the bulletin said.

There are currently five variants of interests namely Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, and the Mu variant. Variants of interest are defined by the WHO as variants “identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time.” AAC

OFWs in South Korea given one-year extension of stay

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in South Korea who are under the Employment Permit System (EPS) and whose contract term expires within the period April 13, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021 are given an extension of stay to one more year.

The policy, which took effect April 13, allows foreign workers to remain in the country given the prevailing condition brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Labor Attaché Maya Valderrama of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Korea in a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the said issuance from South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is in line with the relevant amendment to the Act on Employment of Foreign Workers.

The issuance provides that the stay and employment period of foreign workers (E-9 and H-2) under the EPS and whose employment period (three years or four years and 10 months) expires from April 13 to December 31, 2021 is extended for one year.

Valderrama said the Korean government expects this measure will resolve the difficulties of workers entering and leaving the country during the pandemic.

This will also help in the manpower shortage of small and medium-sized companies.

Bello thanked the Seoul government for the move that will benefit hundreds of workers in Korea.

“We welcome this unprecedented employment measure extended by the Republic of Korea (ROK) to our EPS workers especially during this time of the pandemic. The preservation of jobs of our OFWs everywhere in the world is our primordial concern, and this development highlights the value of our 15 years of continuing bilateral cooperation on labor with the ROK,” Bello said in a news release on Sunday.

The extension period of stay and employment also applies to EPS workers who have been given a 50-day visa extension by ROK’s authorities, provided that the extended period also falls within the period April 13 to December 31, 2021.

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