Tag: Overseas

Philippines’ Duterte ends overseas travel ban on healthcare workers, minister says

By Karen Lema



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: FILE PHOTO: Newly graduate nurses take their oath during an oath taking ceremony of professional nurses inside a mall in Manila


© Reuters/Romeo Ranoco
FILE PHOTO: Newly graduate nurses take their oath during an oath taking ceremony of professional nurses inside a mall in Manila

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved ending a ban on deploying the nation’s healthcare workers, his labour minister said on Saturday, clearing the way for thousands of nurses to take up jobs overseas.



a group of people in front of a crowd: FILE PHOTO: Newly graduated nurses gesture while having their picture taken by a friend before the oath taking ceremony of the professional nurses inside a mall in Manila


© Reuters/Romeo Ranoco
FILE PHOTO: Newly graduated nurses gesture while having their picture taken by a friend before the oath taking ceremony of the professional nurses inside a mall in Manila

“The president already approved the lifting of the temporary suspension of deployment of nurses and other medical workers,” Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello told Reuters.

Bello said the spread of the novel coronavirus was slowing down in the country and conditions were improving, so the government could afford to let its healthcare workers leave.

The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, but daily case numbers and death rates have dropped.

To ensure the Philippines has enough medical professionals to continue to fight the pandemic at home, only 5,000 healthcare workers will be allowed to leave every year, Bello said.

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“We are starting only with a cap of 5,000 so we will not run out (of medical workers), but this may increase eventually,” Bello said.

Last year, almost 17,000 nurses signed overseas work contracts data from the Commission on Higher Education and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration shows.

The government in April barred nurses, doctors and other medical workers from leaving, saying they were needed to fight the coronavirus crisis at home.

Thousands of health workers, who call themselves “priso-nurses”, had appealed to the government to let them take jobs abroad, Reuters reported in September. The nurses say they feel underpaid, under-appreciated and unprotected in the Philippines.

While the lifting of the travel ban was a “welcome development,” Maristela Abenojar, President of Filipino Nurses United, challenged the government to make true its commitment to give its nurses better pay and benefits if it wants them to stay.

Filipino health workers are on the front lines of the pandemic at hospitals in the United States, Europe and the Middle East as well as at home.

New coronavirus cases in the Philippines have remained below 2,000 since Nov. 10, while deaths, which totalled 8,025 as of Nov. 20 only equal 1.93% of the country’s 415,067 cases.

Hospital bed occupancy has also eased from critical levels, and the government has been gradually easing quarantine restrictions to jumpstart the coronavirus-hit economy.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by William Mallard and Lincoln Feast.)

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Philippines’ Duterte Ends Overseas Travel Ban on Healthcare Workers, Minister Says | World News

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved ending a ban on deploying the nation’s healthcare workers, his labour minister said on Saturday, clearing the way for thousands of nurses to take up jobs overseas.

“The president already approved the lifting of the temporary suspension of deployment of nurses and other medical workers,” Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello told Reuters.

Bello said the spread of the novel coronavirus was slowing down in the country and conditions were improving, so the government could afford to let its healthcare workers leave.

The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, but daily case numbers and death rates have dropped.

To ensure the Philippines has enough medical professionals to continue to fight the pandemic at home, only 5,000 healthcare workers will be allowed to leave every year, Bello said.

“We are starting only with a cap of 5,000 so we will not run out (of medical workers), but this may increase eventually,” Bello said.

Last year, almost 17,000 nurses signed overseas work contracts data from the Commission on Higher Education and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration shows.

The government in April barred nurses, doctors and other medical workers from leaving, saying they were needed to fight the coronavirus crisis at home.

Thousands of health workers, who call themselves “priso-nurses”, had appealed to the government to let them take jobs abroad, Reuters reported in September. The nurses say they feel underpaid, under-appreciated and unprotected in the Philippines.

While the lifting of the travel ban was a “welcome development,” Maristela Abenojar, President of Filipino Nurses United, challenged the government to make true its commitment to give its nurses better pay and benefits if it wants them to stay.

Filipino health workers are on the front lines of the pandemic at hospitals in the United States, Europe and the Middle East as well as at home.

New coronavirus cases in the Philippines have remained below 2,000 since Nov. 10, while deaths, which totalled 8,025 as of Nov. 20 only equal 1.93% of the country’s 415,067 cases.

Hospital bed occupancy has also eased from critical levels, and the government has been gradually easing quarantine restrictions to jumpstart the coronavirus-hit economy.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by William Mallard and Lincoln Feast.)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Coronavirus explosion overseas will ‘really test’ Australia’s hotel quarantine program, experts warn

The explosion of COVID-19 cases overseas will strain Australia’s hotel quarantine system and increase the chance of “leakage” into the community, leading epidemiologists say.

Victoria isn’t accepting return international travellers, but the number of positive cases in NSW hotel quarantine has doubled in the past two weeks, data has shown.

This follows the Federal Government’s increase of the international arrivals cap from 6,000 to 6,290 people per week.

The rise in COVID-19 cases in quarantine has not been unexpected, with infections surging in the US, Europe as well as Pakistan and India, which are the top two countries of origin for return travellers in Sydney.

NSW has had only one quarantine scare — when two security guards at the Sydney Marriott Hotel tested positive in August.

But epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws said the program was about to be “really tested”.

“There will be the occasional incident as hotels are not purpose built for quarantine,” said Professor McLaws, who is an advisor to the World Health Organization.

“This virus doesn’t understand rules and regulations, it just uses any opportunity, like contaminated surfaces or staff letting their guard down.”

Melbourne’s ‘perfect storm’

Melbourne’s second wave of COVID-19 proved just how much rides on quarantine being watertight, with one infected hotel manager causing mass infections and months of lockdowns.

“It was a perfect storm, what happened in Victoria. That would be hard to replicate in any other state but the possibility is always there,” Professor McLaws said.

The differing levels of virus surveillance in some parts of the world were making it very hard to accurately judge risk right now, she said.

“India cannot keep up and not everyone is getting tested and there is severe under-reporting in Bangladesh.”

Epidemiologist Tony Blakely from the University of Melbourne said hotel quarantine seemed to be working well in NSW but there was now increased pressure on the system.

“Doubling the rate of people infected arriving in quarantine [for example] will double this very rare occurrence to something not quite as rare.”

He admitted leakages were unlikely but said they could occur “from time to time” due to inaccuracies or carelessness.

“For example, the one-in-a-thousand (or more) person who is infected beyond 14 days, but not detected by testing, gets out of quarantine and haplessly passes it on to someone,” Professor Blakely said.

“[Or] the staff member at quarantine who picks it up, tests negative — it happens, about 20 per cent of the time — and takes it home.”

But epidemiologist from the University of Sydney, Fiona Stanaway, said the climbing cases in hotel quarantine shouldn’t cause unnecessary alarm.

“The rates are going gangbusters overseas so yes there will be more people positive but I think it is a risk that can be managed,” she said.

“Rates were really high in the US and Europe in March and April and that was managed here. I don’t think there’s necessarily a cause for concern about this third wave here.

Dr Stanaway said people in quarantine were tested

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On Alibaba’s Singles Day, Chinese shoppers are set to splurge on foreign brands as fewer travel overseas

  • Foreign imported products will be a big hit with Chinese consumers during the massive annual Singles Day shopping event, a senior Alibaba executive told CNBC.
  • Chinese shoppers who would have bought foreign brands while outside the country are turning to online purchases since many will not be traveling this year.
  • The Chinese e-commerce giant is gearing up for Singles Day, the annual 24-hour shopping event that takes place on Nov. 11 where billions of dollars are spent snapping up items on Alibaba’s platform.

Chinese demand for U.S. brands is still huge: Alibaba’s Tmall Global

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HANGZHOU, China — Foreign imported products will be a big hit with Chinese consumers during the massive annual Singles Day shopping event this year given the majority will not be traveling outside mainland China due to the coronavirus pandemic, a senior Alibaba executive told CNBC.

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Chinese shoppers who would have usually bought foreign brands during their holidays abroad are turning to online purchases, according to Alvin Liu, the president of Alibaba’s Tmall import and export business.

Tmall is Alibaba’s main platform in China where shoppers can buy imported items. The Chinese e-commerce giant is gearing up for Singles Day, the annual 24-hour shopping event that takes place on Nov. 11 where billions of dollars of items are purchased on Alibaba’s platform.

“I think the import product will have … big business this year for Singles Day,” Liu told CNBC in an interview which aired Friday.

“As you know there is no global travel, so Chinese people stay within mainland China but they still prefer to buy all kinds of the high-quality products overseas. I think Singles Day is the best timing for them to buy a lot of things.”

Singles Day, also referred to as Double 11, sees Chinese e-commerce companies from Alibaba to JD.com push heavy discounts over a 24-hour window. Gross merchandise value, a figure that shows sales across Alibaba’s shopping platforms, stood at 268.4 billion yuan (nearly $40 billion) last year.

This year, Alibaba is trying to increase the number of foreign brands participating. Tmall will bring more than 2,600 new overseas brands to China for the first time, Alibaba said.

Patriotic buying?

But even with the push toward boosting the number of foreign brands, Chinese consumers may be looking to domestic items instead. A recent survey from AlixPartners showed 66% of Chinese consumers said that they’ll be shopping for domestic brands instead of foreign labels. Nearly a third cited “patriotism” as their reason for buying local.



A screen displays the transaction volume of the 24-hour Alibaba Singles' Day global shopping festival at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, China, November 12, 2019.


© Provided by CNBC
A screen displays the transaction volume of the 24-hour Alibaba Singles’ Day global shopping festival at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, November 12, 2019.

Tensions between China and a few other countries such as the U.S. and Australia have been on the rise.

Fifty-seven percent of Chinese consumers plan to spend less money on American products this year, AlixPartners’ survey showed.

But Liu dismissed those findings, and said this is unlikely to happen. He

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Italy’s foreign ministry advises against overseas travel, warns of curbs

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Foreign Ministry advised Italians on Monday against trips to other European countries because of surging coronavirus cases, and warned that people might get trapped overseas if travel bans became necessary.

“In view of the worsening epidemiological situation in Europe, the foreign ministry recommends that all compatriots avoid travelling abroad except for strictly necessary reasons,” said a statement said on the ministry’s website.

“It should also be noted that given the high number of infections in many European countries, further restrictions on travel in the future cannot be excluded, which would risk complicating any return to Italy.”

The ministry further warned of the dangers of travelling beyond Europe. “Similar repatriation problems could occur, with much more serious consequences, in case of travel to non-EU destinations,” it said.

The Italian government helped repatriate almost 100,000 citizens earlier in the year after they were stranded abroad as borders were closed around the world amid coronavirus fears.

Many travel restrictions were eased after the initial viral wave subsided, but cases have risen sharply again this month in many countries including Italy.

In a new record, almost half a million new coronavirus infections were recorded globally in a 24-hour period during the weekend, according to Reuters data.

There have been mounting protests in Italy against intensified restrictions meant to curb coronavirus contagion, and officials said the government would present a package of measures on Tuesday to shore up damaged businesses.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Labor asks why Tony Abbott granted second travel ban exemption while 30,000 Australians stranded overseas

Labor is demanding answers on why former prime minister Tony Abbott appears to have been granted a second travel ban exemption to leave Australia just weeks after completing hotel quarantine in Sydney, while close to 30,000 Australians wait in the queue to return home.



Tony Abbott wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Local news agencies in Rome reported on the weekend that Abbott was one of 45 in attendance at a mass conducted by Cardinal George Pell at the chapel of Domus Australia to mark the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of Mother Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first saint.

It was Pell’s first mass since 2017, and the first since he returned to Rome after the Australian high court overturned his conviction for child sexual abuse.

Related: Cost of scrapping Tony Abbott’s knights and dames totals $135K

According to America Magazine, Abbott was already in Rome “on other business”, but Abbott’s reported trip overseas is only a month after he returned to Sydney and spent two weeks in hotel quarantine, after a short trip to the United Kingdom.

Since a ban was put in place preventing Australians leaving the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Australians seeking to go overseas need to apply for an exception on “compelling and compassionate” grounds.

At least 20% of applications have been rejected, and it can take at least two weeks for applications to be approved.

Abbott was granted an exemption to visit the UK in August, when he was appointed a trade envoy to the Boris Johnson government.

The Australian reported on 14 September Abbott had paid for his own $3,000 stay in hotel quarantine on his return to Australia.

The former prime minister’s first exemption sparked anger because exemptions have been limited, including for those attempting to go overseas for family funerals or to see dying relatives.

Those who go overseas for a short time add to the queue of close to 30,000 Australians currently waiting to return from overseas, who have been unable to get back due to the caps on the number of returned travellers in hotel quarantine in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Labor’s home affairs spokeswoman, Kristina Keneally, indicated Labor would raise the questions on Tuesday afternoon with Department of Home Affairs officials in Senate estimates around Abbott’s second trip, and whether the former prime minister would get a second spot in hotel quarantine.



Tony Abbott wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Labor is angry that former prime minister Tony Abbott appears to have been granted two travel ban exemptions. His latest overseas trip in Rome is only a month after he returned to Sydney and spent two weeks in hotel quarantine, after a short trip to the United Kingdom.


© Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP
Labor is angry that former prime minister Tony Abbott appears to have been granted two travel ban exemptions. His latest overseas trip in Rome is only a month after he returned to Sydney and spent two weeks in hotel quarantine, after a short trip to the United Kingdom.

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Travel Overseas | Homeland Security

Traveling abroad doesn’t have to be confusing if you know the right things before you go. This section provides answers to many common questions from international travelers about planning for your trip, returning home and navigating passenger processing.

Some of our most popular print-ready brochures are featured at the bottom.

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Preparing for your Trip

Get a passport for overseas travel. We also recommend you make a copy of your passport and put it in a separate place. Carry your passport – do not pack it in your checked luggage. You must present it to the Customs and Border Protection officer upon arrival in the United States.

Planning travel in the Western Hemisphere? Learn about what types of identification is required for travel in the Western Hemisphere (Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America). There are six types of acceptable documents for crossing US borders.

Find out if you need to get a visa. United States citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit. If you have a visa, we recommend you make a copy and put it in a separate place. Carry your visa with you — do not pack it in your checked luggage.

All children, including infants, must have their own passport or Trusted Traveler Program document for U.S. entry. Carry documents for traveling with minor children.

  • If you are escorting a minor child without the parents, have a letter from both parents indicating that you have permission to travel with the minor.
  • If the child is accompanied by only one parent, the parent should have a note from the child’s other parent. For example, “I acknowledge that my wife/ husband is traveling out of the country with my son/ daughter. He/She/ has my permission to do so.”
  • If a single parent has sole custody, a copy of the court custody document can replace a letter from the other parent.

If bringing a dog, have a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccinations from a veterinarian in your country of residence. Prior to your trip, check with your airline for its rules on transporting animals – many airlines require a health certificate.

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Returning Home

Find out what is prohibited or restricted before you pack for your return trip. Products that would injure community health, public safety and domestic plant and animal life are restricted from entering the United States and are subject to seizure by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency .

Other considerations for packing:

  • Carry only medication needed for the trip in its original container. Do not pack it.
  • Carry only the jewelry needed for the trip. Do not pack it.

Find out what you can bring on an airplane. Plan ahead and avoid the potential of additional screening, be sure to check out the prohibited items list below and pack accordingly.

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Navigating Passenger Processing

Plan your travel. When

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