10 Filipinos test positive amid COVID surge in Shanghai

10 Filipinos test positive amid COVID surge in Shanghai
A health worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) talks to residents while they are waiting to board a bus on a street during a Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in the Jing'an district in Shanghai on April 19, 2022.

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Consul General in Shanghai Josel Ignacio said 10 Filipino nationals are now in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 as China’s financial capital faces another surge in infections.

In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel’s “The Rundown” on Wednesday, Ignacio said the affected Filipinos have reached out to the foreign service post. 

“We are looking after them, one-on-one, we are in direct communication. They tell us what they need, we try to elevate that to the authorities in different ways, depending on their needs,” Ignacio said.

The surge was brought about by the Omicron variant, leading to over 400,000 new infections logged since March. 

On Wednesday, city authorities said seven have died due to the virus, bringing the death toll to 17. This is on top of 18,000 new COVID-19 cases that are mostly asymptomatic. 

Shanghai is starting to ease its lockdown after facing threats of business closures and food shortages, despite the mounting deaths. Twelve million residents were allowed to leave their homes after being locked down in the past month and some factories have since reopened.

The Philippine consulate there had anticipated possible issues, including panic-buying. Ignacio said they prepared a measure to provide food security to Filipinos in Shanghai. 

“That's why the request for assistance is in the form of vouchers, food cards that are as good as cash that our Filipinos can use to purchase goods online and these will be, and these goods can then be delivered straight to their households because there's a limitation of mobility,” Ignacio said.

While working from home, the consulate said it is looking at how they may mobilize and distribute the funds they received from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. 

The consulate is also working with the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government and the Foreign Affairs Office amid the COVID surge.

“In fact, this afternoon, I will have a meeting with the deputy director general of the foreign affairs office and we have this shopping list of concerns that we will certainly elevate,” Ignacio said.

Overseas voting kicked off over a week ago, April 10. However, the Commission on Elections suspended overseas voting in Shanghai because of the surge in COVID-19 cases

Comelec data showed there are 1,991 registered voters based in Shanghai.

“We hope that moving forward in the next few weeks, we hope there will be some window for us to be able to allow our people to exercise their right because they are enthusiastic,” Ignacio said, adding that the French Consulate General was also not permitted by the Shanghai government to conduct their elections. — Kaycee Valmonte with Agence France-Presse

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