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Stricter rules on hospital visits hinder sick OFW's wish to return home

02 February 2020

Emelita Llamo Vidal during better times.

By Vir B. Lumicao

A 58-year-old Filipina who is in intensive care in Tuen Mun Hospital after suffering a stroke is asking help from the government so she could be repatriated as soon as possible as she wants to be treated in a hospital back home.

But Overseas Workers Welfare Administration staff could not visit her reportedly because of a ban on hospital visits due to the Wuhan novel coronavirus contagion.  

Emelita Llamo Vidal, a native of Roxas, Capiz, was taken by her employer to the hospital on Jan 29 after she collapsed at the latter’s home in Yuen Long before noon.

She was the second Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong reported to have suffered a stroke on the same day. The other worker, Lovella F. Albero, is now being treated in the emergency room of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan.

Vidal, who has been working in Hong Kong for the past 22 years, sought the help of friends to inform OWWA about her plight as well as her wish to go home.

Her situation was relayed to Philippine Overseas Labor Office officer-in-charge, Antonio Villafuerte, who notified OWWA welfare officers.
Villafuerte said on Sunday, however, that WelOf Virsie B. Tamayao could not see the patient because of the visiting ban.

In an advisory on Jan 26, the Hospital Authority said:

“In accordance with Hong Kong government’s Preparedness Plan, the Hospital Authority has implemented measures of the Emergency Response Level. Visiting arrangement is suspended, while compassionate arrangement will be made for clinical consideration.

“Visiting hours will be changed subject to HA Response Level for Infection Control. Please contact Enquiry Office on 2683 8888 for details.”

Villafuerte said that even if OWWA does get to see her, the patient’s wish to be repatriated soon may not be possible unless her hospital doctors certify her as fit to fly.
Vidal is reportedly conscious and has managed to chat with a niece and her daughter, who arrived two weeks ago to work with her in the same household.

Her niece reportedly tried to see her once to try and deliver a charger because Vidal’s mobile phone was running low on battery, but hospital nurses refused her entry because of the visiting ban.

Vidal has three other children and was reportedly taking care of an elderly woman.

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