MANILA, Aug 9 (Mabuhay)– The Hong Kong government will lift the travel ban on the Philippines on Monday, allowing more than 3,000 stranded Filipino workers to fly back to their employers.

In a news release by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Sunday, Labor Attaché Melchor Dizon said the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who will be allowed to travel to Hong Kong could exceed those stranded during the travel ban as the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) continued to process job orders.

HK authorities require a 14-day quarantine even for fully vaccinated workers upon arrival, according to DOLE.

Dizon likewise encouraged OFWs in HK to take advantage of the privilege of choosing the brand of Covid-19 vaccines and the chance of getting cash and other incentives once they get inoculated.

“We encourage our fellow Filipinos here in Hong Kong and those stranded in the Philippines to have themselves vaccinated against Covid-19. Otherwise, you will not be allowed entry into Hong Kong. This is also for your protection,” Dizon said.

He noted that of about 220,000 OFWs in HK, less than 50 percent have availed of the vaccine of their choice even as the government has drawn incentive package.

“There are lots of vaccine brands here (HK). You can choose your brand. There are also incentives if you are vaccinated,” Dizon said.

The HK government is giving cash incentives to migrant workers and house and car to residents who get vaccinated.

POLOs are required to validate the authenticity of a Covid-19 vaccination card or document of an OFW from the host country.

According to a Bloomberg report on Aug. 3, Hong Kong has fully vaccinated 2.5 million people, or about 33 percent of its estimated 7.5 million population.

The Hong Kong government also said only schools which achieve a 70-percent vaccination level among students can fully resume face-to-face classes by September. (MNS)

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