Gov’t Studying Possible Lifting of Deployment Ban on Ebola-Hit Countries

The government may soon lift the deployment ban on the countries affected by the Ebola virus, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said Wednesday.

At the sidelines of a forum on the 2015 ASEAN economic integration, Baldoz said the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are currently monitoring the situation in West African countries affected by the deadly virus.

“Ang latest na alam ko, the countries earlier identified affected by the Ebola ay nire-review na for the possible lifting of the ban… I think the situation is easing, so possible na ma-lift na nga,” she said.

She, however, refused to elaborate, saying that she might pre-empt the assessment of the DOH and the DFA.

“Until and after the DOH and DFA said so, I will not preempt anything. Basta, we are still awaiting advise from them,” Baldoz said.

 She said the DOH is working “very closely” with the World Health Organization (WHO) to get the right signal on whether it is already safe to deploy Filipino workers in areas earlier identified as affected by Ebola.

Last month, the DOLE imposed deployment ban on in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to the Ebola virus. Baldoz said that despite the ban, many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) still choose to work in these countries.

“It’s always a personal decision. They know that there is this kind of risk sa health. We have raised the level of awareness naman about the effects of this disease but they still chose to leave and work there,” she said.

She maintained that so far, no Filipino has been tested positive with Ebola.

In August, the DFA said it is preparing for the evacuation of OFWs in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to the Ebola virus, which has already claimed the lives of 2,909 people as of September 20. A total of 6,185 cases have been recorded in the three African countries including Nigeria and Senegal.

Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.

Humans can also be exposed to Ebola virus from direct physical contact with body fluids like blood, saliva, stool, urine, sweat, etc. of an infected person and soiled linen used by a patient.

It can also be spread through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

(Source: Pinoy Abroad, GMA News)

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