Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved ending a ban on deploying the nation’s health-care workers, his labor minister said on Saturday, clearing the way for thousands of nurses to take up jobs overseas as coronavirus cases ease in the country.
“The president already approved the lifting of the temporary suspension of deployment of nurses and other medical workers,” Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello told Reuters.
Bello said the spread of the coronavirus was slowing down in the country and conditions were improving, so the government could afford to let its health-care workers leave.
Read more: Spreading coronavirus a ‘serious crime’ in Philippines, Duterte says as cases spike
The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, but daily case numbers and death rates have dropped.
To ensure the Philippines has enough medical professionals to continue to fight the pandemic at home, only 5,000 healthcare workers will be allowed to leave every year, Bello said.
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“We are starting only with a cap of 5,000 so we will not run out (of medical workers), but this may increase eventually,” Bello said.
Last year, almost 17,000 nurses signed overseas work contracts data from the Commission on Higher Education and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration shows.…