Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman Angelito Banayo on Friday confirmed that three overseas Filipino workers have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following an outbreak at a factory in a southwestern county in Taiwan.
In an interview over DZMM radio, Banayo said the three OFWs who work in a semiconductor factory in Miaoli County are now being treated from what he believed could be “mild cases” of COVID-19.
About 34 individuals with whom the three OFWs had close contact in the last several days were immediately quarantined and isolated, according to Banayo.
The MECO chairman said the names of the three Filipinos are being withheld due to the strict confidentiality being implemented by the Ministry of Health in Taiwan.
Aside from the three and those who have been immediately isolated, Taiwanese authorities are also conducting onsite testing of all the 7,000 employees of the semiconductor factory to mitigate the possible spread of infection.
In the light of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, Banayo some OFWs with new contracts are not yet allowed to enter that country even when they are already issued with work permits by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the corresponding visa by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila.
The MECO official said there are currently around 153,000 Filipinos working in Taiwan, most of them working in factories. Only less than 20,000 are employed as household service workers.
Based on the latest data provided by the global COVID-19 online monitoring platform Worldometers, Taiwan has a total of 10,446 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 187 deaths, and 1,133 recoveries.