MANILA – Philippine Ambassador to France Ma. Theresa Lazaro on Wednesday reported that six of the 11 Filipinos afflicted with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in France have died.

“Ang aming impormasyon na natanggap ay mga labing-isa (ay positibo), anim dito ay nasawi, ang iba naman ay naapektuhan ng Covid-19 but marami rin sa kanila ang slowly recovering (Based on the information we received, there are 11 positive cases, six of whom have died but most of the remaining are slowly recovering),” Lazaro said during a phone interview at the Laging Handa briefing.

About 25,000 Filipinos reside in France, majority of whom are working as professionals and household service staff.

She said the overall situation of Filipinos in France remain stable despite the country having one of the highest Covid-19 cases in Europe.

“So far, ang ating mga kababayan dito ay nasa magandang kalagayan although may iba talagang naapektuhan, meron silang pangangailangan like food provision pero mayroon tayong members ng Filipino community na nagtutulong-tulong para mabigyan sila ng food provision (So far, our nationals here are in good condition although some have been affected, such as those who need food provision. Some members of the Filipino community also help them),” Lazaro said.

For those asking to be repatriated, Lazaro said the embassy is ready to assist and is coordinating with the Philippine labor attaché in France and Madrid.

She shared that at least 955 seafarers from various cruise lines are in France and similarly awaiting repatriation.

“Sa repatriation ng mga sea-based Filipinos, siguro mangyayari ito sa mga darating na araw (For the repatriation of our sea-based Filipinos, this might be conducted in the next few days),” she said.

In the meantime, Lazaro called on all Filipinos to heed instructions from the local authorities.

“What the French authorities have been saying is if a person is asymptomatic or has no symptoms, he/she is advised to stay home because hospitals are overwhelmed. In fact, some of the sick people are being sent to Germany or Switzerland for treatment,” she said.

Those exhibiting symptoms, on the other hand, may contact France’s emergency hotline, which will send an ambulance to assess the suspected Covid-19 case’s status.

Based on the latest data of the World Health Organization, there are 97,050 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in France, some 14,946 of whom have died since the outbreak.

Lazaro said France is coping with the health crisis but as French President Emmanuel Macron has admitted, the country is not ready for the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Noong nagsalita si President Macron nitong Lunes lang nang gabi, inamin niya na hindi handa ang Pransya dito sa pandemic na ito, which means na kinakailangan din nila ang mga masks, PPE (personal protective equipment) – sitwasyon na parang kagaya natin and ito po ay isang developed country (When President Macron spoke last Monday night, he admitted that France is not ready for the pandemic, which means they also need masks and PPE – a situation that is similar to ours and France is a developed country),” she said.

Lazaro said France’s strict coronavirus lockdown has been extended until May 11. (PNA)

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