PH labor office in Riyadh suspends operations as 6 staffers test positive for COVID-19

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MANILA – The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will suspend operations starting Sunday, June 14, as six officers and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus disease, the labor department said. 

In a statement, Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa said the Riyadh POLO would still respond to calls and offer services to OFWs in distress round-the-clock as its staff will be placed on a work-from-home arrangement.

He said the office will be shuttered to prevent further spread of the disease among POLO staff and those who come in for services.

“The objective of the suspension is to prevent the escalation of infection among POLO staff and its clients and to allow the conduct of a thorough disinfection of the office premises,” Mustafa said.

A total of 37 POLO personnel underwent coronavirus testing after 2 staffers tested positive. They were "found to be infected and eventually transmitting the virus to the others in the post." 

The Riyadh POLO services Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, which remains to be the top destination for OFWs, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in a June 4 press release. 

An estimated 22.4 percent of the total 2.2 million OFWs worldwide were in Saudi Arabia as of last year. 

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