By Roy Mabasa
Philippine Ambassador to Paris Maria Theresa Lazaro on Wednesday said six out of 11 Filipinos who tested positive with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have succumbed to the disease.
In a phone patch interview at the “Laging Handa” program of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), Lazaro said aside from the six deaths, the remaining Filipinos infected with the virus are “slowly recovering.”.
“Based on the information we received, there are 11 affected, six of them died,” Lazaro said when asked about the situation of the 25,000-strong Filipino community in France.
Majority of the Filipinos in France are either professionals or those working in the households of French nationals.
Among the countries in Europe, France currently ranks third after Italy and Spain in terms of the number of people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. As of April 14, Lazaro said about 16,000 people have already died and hospitals are still overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
“Hospitals are overwhelmed, filled with people stricken with the disease. They’re even sending some of the patients either in Germany or Switzerland,” Lazaro noted.
Due to the overwhelming situation of hospitals in France, Lazaro advised Filipinos who are asymptomatic to just stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 to 21 days while those who have any of the known symptoms may call the French emergency hotline 15 for immediate assistance.
Since March 17, France is strictly implementing a lockdown that has somehow affected the livelihood of some Filipinos, according to the envoy.
She said the Filipino community, especially in the far-flung areas like in the southeast coast of Nice, is also extending assistance to their kababayans, especially food provisions.