Suspend deployment of nurses overseas amid COVID-19 crisis, DOLE urged
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is urging the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to temporarily suspend the deployment of Filipino nurses overseas as the country fights the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez made the call after reading a report that Germany was sending a plane to Manila to fly in “at least 75” Filipino nurses to take care of their COVID-19 stricken citizens.
“Secretary Bello should suspend the sending of nurses abroad. We need our healthcare personnel here at this time of public health emergency to attend to sick Filipinos, and not to foreigners,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Rodriguez said that a number of hospitals—both public and private—already lack key personnel as more COVID-19 cases are confirmed in the country.
Some medical personnel have also been quarantined due to exposure to the virus, he added.
Rodriguez said the deployment of healthcare workers abroad could resume once the country has successfully addressed the healthcare crisis.
The lawmaker added that the Department of Health (DOH), instead of calling for volunteer doctors and nurses, should “hire them and pay them professionally with competitive rates”, adding that their “recruits” should also be given hazard pay and special risk allowance.
“They should be properly compensated. They are our modern-day heroes,” Rodriguez said.
The DOH reported that there are 1,418 cases of COVID-19 in the country as of Sunday afternoon.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
The virus causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which surfaces have a crown-like appearance.
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