PH Embassy in Austria assures Filipinos' safety amid detection of COVID-19 Omicron variant

Published December 2, 2021, 2:56 PM

by Betheena Unite

Filipinos in Austria are in “good condition” amid the emergence of Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the foreign country, the Philippine Embassy there said.

Chargé d’ Affaires Deena Joy Amatong of the Philippine Embassy in Vienna, Austria (Screengrab from Laging Handa press briefing)

“Kami po ay palaging nakikipagpanayam sa kanila, kinukumusta namin sila kung kumusta na ang kanilang kalagayan. Fortunately, ang sinabi naman po sa amin ay maayos naman ang kanilang kalagayan (We are always keeping in touch with them to check their conditions. Fortunately, they said they are in good condition),” Chargé d’ Affaires Deena Joy Amatong of the Philippine Embassy to Vienna, Austria said during a televised briefing Thursday, Dec. 2.

Amatong said they ensure the safety of Filipinos in Austria amid the two reported cases of Omicron and the new surge of COVID-19 in the country.

Austria, she said, has enforced stricter travel measures to prevent further entry of the new variant in its territory.

Amatong said in terms of livelihood, Filipino migrant workers remain well-compensated and are receiving assistance from the subsidized federal jobs program of the foreign government amid the lockdown.

“So, in terms of livelihood ay hindi siguro ganoon kalala pero siyempre meron pa rin ilan ilan na naapektuhan ang kanilang kabuhayan dahil po sa lockdown at sa pandemya (So, in terms of livelihood, the impact is not that severe but there are still some Filipinos whose livelihoods are affected),” the Filipino ambassador said.

The Philippine Embassy there is currently implementing alternative work arrangements.

“Under this setup, we ensure that the Embassy and especially our consular section remains open to the public. So hangga’t po makakaya namin at habang kami ay healthy dito sa embahada hindi po kami titigil sa pagbigay serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan (So as long as we can and we’re healthy in the embassy, we will continue to to help and be of service to our fellow Filipinos),” Amatong said.

Austria is among the 14 countries placed in the Philippines’ red list, which bans the entry of all inbound travels from the territories into the country.

Amatong reported that some Filipinos were affected by the foreign country’s inclusion in the red list. However, even before the imposition of the ban, Filipinos from Austria were already affected by the quota system on flights.