UP CLOSE. A microscopic image of the A(H1N1) virus, which has so far affected 19,273 people in 66 countries and killed 117 others as of last count. APMANILA, Philippines - Local manpower agencies have proposed that all out-bound overseas Filipino workers (OFW) be made to undergo thermal scanning to assure host governments that they are A(H1N1)-free.
In a letter to the House Committee on Health, the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (Pasei) proposed that mechanisms be put in place to allay the concerns of host countries and foreign employers that Filipino workers are A(H1N1) carriers.
“Baka naman yung employers magduda na sa atin [Employers may be doubting us] so we want to be able to tell them: don’t worry, our workers arriving in your country are influenza-free," Pasei president Victor Fernandez told GMANews.TV in an interview on Tuesday.
He said one mechanism that could be “immediately and easily" put into place is to mandatorily require all out-bound OFWs to submit themselves for thermal scanning at the departure area.
Concerns over the potential of OFWs as A(H1N1) carriers first surfaced when a Filipina nurse who had just returned from a vacation in the Philippines became Saudi Arabia’s first confirmed case of the novel virus.[See: Pinay nurse is first case of A(H1N1) in KSA]
Several other Filipinos, mostly nurses, have also been found positive of the virus in Saudi Arabia.
A Filipino man was also the first confirmed A(H1N1) case in Macau. [See: Macau’s first case of A(H1N1) is a Filipino]
Moreover, Asia’s first A(H1N1)-related death was also a Filipino. [See: Flu shots for departing OFWs proposed]
The POEA has already issued some A(H1N1) guidelines for OFWs.
The DOH has reported that the country’s total infected cases currently stand at 1,709.
As of July 6, the World Health Organization said that there have been 94,512 confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) all over the world. Of the number, there have been 429 deaths, mostly in the USA and Mexico. - GMANews.TV