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The Department of Health has repeatedly advised the public to reduce physical contact and maintain distance of at least one meter from people with flu-like symptoms.
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Business-as-usual for BPOs amid COVID-19 threat
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - March 3, 2020 - 11:45am

MANILA, Philippines — Save for some health reminders and provisions to their workers, business process outsourcing companies are business-as-usual, leaving individual firms free to decide work-from-home arrangements amid the threat of coronavirus.

With health officials warning against coronavirus’s capacity to spread in close contact with infected people, the IT-BPO Association of the Philippines said it relies on member-companies to “ensure that necessary steps are being taken to keep our workforce safe.”

“These IT-BPM firms offer health and wellness benefits such as health insurance programs, annual medical exams, as well as onsite doctors, nurses, and first-aiders, which are very crucial especially at this time,” IBPAP said in a January 31 statement to the group, a copy of which was obtained by Philstar.com.

“Work from home policies, however, is still dependent on each company's HR (human resource) policies,” it added.

As of Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., the Department of Health reported that 10 of the 23 persons under investigation were confined at hospitals in Metro Manila, while seven were located in Central Luzon.

Since the Philippines recorded its first case of Coronavirus Disease-19—the flu-like illness caused by the novel coronavirus— two had already died from the disease, while one fully recovered. A total of 613 people monitored were discharged after showing no symptoms.

Outside the country, COVID-19 cases rose to 89,006 on Monday, including 3,044 deaths across 68 countries and territories.

BPOs in the Philippines typically service clients offshore, particularly the US where there were already three confirmed infections of COVID-19. While there are currently no industry-wide disruptions in BPO work because of COVID-19, IBPAP said it is constantly monitoring the situation.

“Apart from this, our member-companies diligently follow government-mandated labor policies and guidelines, including occupational health and safety standards,” the group said.

“We have also advised (employees) to take precautionary measures as well as seek help from licensed medical professionals, if necessary,” it added.

BPOs are one of the country’s top employers and dollar engines. Last year, IBPAP data showed member-firms generated revenues worth $26 billion and 1.29 million full-time employees. 

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 COVID-19 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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