The government is considering providing $200 in financial assistance to each overseas Filipino worker affected by the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Sunday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the financial aid could be given once the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has identified the OFWs who are in the area.
Shanghai, a city of about 25 million, went into lockdown to curb a COVID-19 outbreak four weeks ago. About 42,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the city.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said that safety measures are still in place, even though the country has opened its borders to foreign tourists.
She explained the Philippines can no longer close and open its borders repeatedly, and must rely on the strategies that the government has imposed to protect the population.
Only fully vaccinated foreign tourists are allowed entry into the country.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday attributed the slight rise of new COVID-19 cases in some areas to election-related activities and the increased mobility of people during Holy Week.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, in a briefing, said Marinduque, Davao City, Butuan City, Surigao del Sur, Ilocos Norte, Kalinga, Batanes, Quirino, Catanduanes, Olongapo City, Tarlac City,
Angeles City, and Eastern Samar recorded a slight rise in new infections.
“We don’t see common factors in all areas but except of course the influx of tourists, and those who return home to their provinces,” Cabotaje said in Filipino.
The Philippines on Wednesday recorded 365 new cases, the highest in over two weeks, ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said, citing DOH data.
The figure fell Thursday to 134, the lowest daily tally in almost two years or since May 8, 2020. The number of those still battling the disease as of Friday, meanwhile, is the lowest since Dec. 31 last year, Guido said.
Last week, the DOH warned that Metro Manila could record up to 446,000 COVID-19 cases by mid-May if people violate health protocols, given the increasing election-related activities.
Metro Manila and dozens of other areas are under the loosest pandemic alert level until April 30.
This allows all establishments and activities to operate at full on-site capacity, with face-to-face classes subject to the approval of the Office of the President.