Relatives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Thailand need not worry as the Asian country emerges as another success story in the battle against the pandemic, Philippine Embassy Charge d’ Affaires Mary Ann Padua said Monday.
“Nais kong ipaalam na maganda na ho ang sitwasyon dito sa Thailand, 28 days na, hinihintay na lang namin kung merong report ng local transmission, kung wala magpe-prepare na ho ang Thailand for low risk (I want to inform you that situation here in Thailand is good for the past 28 days. We are only awaiting report if there are local transmissions. If there is none, Thailand will be placed under ‘low-risk’ level),” Padua said during a Laging Handa public briefing Monday aired over state-run PTV4.
She said the main concern of OFWs now in Thailand is the repatriation process.
To date, the Philippine Embassy has repatriated 306 Filipino nationals and eight infants last April 24 and May 14.
The embassy still has to repatriate 668 individuals based on their list and they are targeting June 25 and June 29 for the repatriation.
Padua said from March to April, the initial concern of Filipinos in Thailand is their visa.
“Nung una ang concern nila is yung visa nila, in three weeks period from March to April nagmadali ho talaga kaming makapaglabas ng 1,662 visa endorsement letters sa ating mga kababayan through data capture (their initial concern was their visas, so in three weeks from March to April we fast-tracked the release of 1,662 visa endorsement letter through data capture), until a blanket extension until 31 July was put in effect,” she said.
Padua said the Thai government implemented very strict measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Because of this, there have been no recorded deaths due to Covid-19 in Thailand for the past 19 days.
They were very careful even in the repatriation of their own nationals.
“Maingat na maingat ang Thai government authorities. Ang kanilang ginawang pag-repatriate ng kanilang mga nationals, una 200 a day lang tapos naging 400 tapos naging 500 (the Thai government was very careful, even in the repatriation of their nationals, first it was only 200 per day, and then 400 until they increased them to 500),” Padua said.
She said upon arrival in Thailand, returnees were placed under quarantine and were then tested for Covid-19 twice, on their fifth day and on the 12th day of their arrival.
Proper hygiene was also implemented and so is strict social distancing and imposition of a curfew.
“Pati yung recovery mataas ang recovery, 3,000 plus ang kanilang infection, ang recovery halos sumasabay dun sa number of infections (their recovery is very high. They have more than 3,000 infections and their recovery is almost as high),” she said.
Effect on tourism
Thailand’s tourism, its main industry, meanwhile took a brunt from the pandemic.
“Napakalaking problema sa kanila, last year ang kanilang visitors parang 39.8 million ang kanilang mga bisita, tapos nung Marso nung pumutok ito parang bumagsak sa something like 75 percent ang recorded, bumagsak ang kanilang turismo (It has a huge effect on them. Last year they had around 39.8 million visitors, and because of Covid-19, in March they had a 75-percent decrease. Their tourism is very much affected),” he said.
For the rest of the year, Thai authorities have recalibrated measures and expect visitors to reach 14 to 16 million.
Filipino teachers in Thailand
Delayed school opening in Thailand is scheduled this first week of July.
Since most OFWs in the said country are working as teachers, the embassy is in constant coordination with the different Filipino community organizations for food assistance.
They also link them with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.
The embassy also raised with the government of Thailand the issue of Filipino teachers who went back to the Philippines but are unable to re-enter Thailand because of the situation.
“Last week, feedback na they want information on the teachers, they’re trying to do something kasi kailangan din nila ang ating mga teachers (they also need our teachers),” Padua said.
Source: Philippines News Agency