Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.  (PRESIDENTIAL PHOTOS)

 

While the country needs more health workers in its fight to wipe out the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country, the government will permit health workers with existing contracts to return to the countries where they are employed.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. bared that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has now agreed to lift the travel ban on medical and health workers originally proposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

“Done… Nurses, other health workers with existing contracts of work abroad can leave,” Locsin tweeted.

The country’s top diplomat said future applications are put on hold until further notice and until more than 450,000 nurses have been employed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides for an ideal 250,000 people-to-nurses ratio but the country exceeds this ratio.

Locsin said that his recommendation, contained in an IATF resolution, has been approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Earlier, Locsin expressed his dismay over his fellow Cabinet members in the IATF as he pointed out that it is not just for health-care professionals to bear with minimal pay and long working hours in their own country.

The POEA ban sought to “prioritize human resource allocation for the national health-care system at the time of the national state of emergency.” (Jojo Mangahis)