Pinoy healthcare workers among frontliners in COVID-19 response in UK, Ireland: PH envoy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2020 03:07 PM | Updated as of Apr 04 2020 06:01 PM

A quiet Whitehall is seen as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 31, 2020. Toby Melville, Reuters

MANILA - Filipino healthcare workers are among frontliners in the battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Philippine envoy in London has said. 

According to Philippine Ambassador to London Antonio Lagdameo, of the estimated 200,000 Filipinos in the UK, around 21,000 are health care workers employed by the National Health Service and other private hospitals.

"Ang mga Pilipino naman ang pangalawa sa pinakamalaking bilang ng foreign workers sa NHS after India and followed by Ireland," said Lagdameo during the Laging Handa briefing on COVID-19 Saturday.

(Filipinos account for the second highest number of foreign workers in NHS after India and followed by Ireland.)

In Ireland, there are around 18,000 Filipinos, and 10 percent of the nurses in the Health Service Executive are from the Philippines.

"Kaya masasabi natin ang ating mga kababayan ay nasa frontlines ng paglaban sa COVID-19 sa dalawang bansa," he said.

(That's why we can say our compatriots are in the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 in the two countries.)

The UK and Ireland are both under the jurisdiction of the Philippine post in London. 

The ambassador said that latest data they received showed that 10 Filipinos in the UK have tested positive of the virus, while 7 in Ireland have contracted the disease.

Of those in the UK, four have already died, he said. 

The embassy also received reports that 33 Filipinos are now persons under investigation (PUIs). They are still waiting for the results of their tests.

Meanwhile, four others are considered persons under monitoring. 

"Among the PUIs are nurses and healthcare workers, patunay lamang kung gaano kadelikado ang kanilang trabaho sa ngayon," he said.

The embassy said it continues to provide updates to Filipinos through its Facebook page. It likewise takes action on concerns aired by Filipinos.

He shared that the embassy has received reports that some Filipino nurses have not been given personal protective equipment (PPE).

The embassy, he said, relayed this to the UK government as well as to the recruitment agencies that deployed the nurses for them to coordinate with the hospitals.

He said the Pinoy heath workers reported that while those with direct exposure to COVID-19 cases were given PPEs, those in other parts of the hospital were not. 

As of April 3, the UK confirmed 33,722 positive cases of the coronavirus and 2,921 deaths while Ireland has 3,849 COVID-19 cases and 98 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

The ambassador said prayers would help amid the pandemic.

"Walang mainam na gamot kung 'di panalangin ng buong sambayanan," he said.