TUCP to DOLE: Require large firms to submit anti-flu plans

Published by rudy Date posted on July 2, 2009

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to compel large firms employing more than 500 workers to promptly submit their “preparedness plans” in dealing with the spread of Influenza A(H1N1).

“The DOLE has to ensure that business establishments, particularly the labor-intensive ones, are taking adequate measures to monitor, prevent and control the potential proliferation of Influenza A(H1N1) among their workforces,” said TUCP secretary-general and former Sen. Ernesto Herrera.

This developed as the World Health Organization (WHO), in its latest global situation update, reported that the Philippines has eclipsed Thailand in terms of confirmed A(H1N1) cases.

According to the WHO update, the Philippines, with a total of 861 cases, including one death as of 5 p.m. on June 29, now ranks 10th worldwide and No. 1 in Southeast Asia in terms of “laboratory-confirmed cases” of Influenza A(H1N1).

Based on the WHO update, the nine other countries with the greatest number of Influenza A(H1N1) cases are the United States (27,717 cases, 127 deaths); Mexico (8,279 cases, 116 deaths); Canada (7,775 cases, 21 deaths); Chile (5,186 cases, seven deaths); the United Kingdom (4,250 cases, one death); Australia (4,038 cases, seven deaths); Argentina (1,488 cases, 23 deaths); China (1,442 cases, no death); and Japan (1,212 cases, no death).

Closely following the Philippines and completing the top 15 are Thailand (774 cases, no death); Singapore (599 cases, no death); New Zealand (587 cases, no death); Spain (541 cases, no death); and Israel (469 cases, no death).

Unlike the Philippines, which reported 416 new cases since the prior WHO update on June 26, Thailand reported no new cases since then. Singapore and New Zealand reported 284 and 134 new cases, respectively.

South Korea reported 60 new cases (total, 202); Malaysia, 44 new cases (total, 112); Vietnam, 21 new cases (total, 84); and Brunei, 18 new cases (total, 29). Indonesia reported no new cases, keeping its total only at eight.

According to the WHO update, a total of 70,893 cases of Influenza A(H1N1), with 311 deaths, have been reported in 107 countries. Of the total, 11,079 new cases and 48 new deaths were reported since the previous WHO update released at 3:00 pm on June 26.

The DOLE earlier issued Department Advisory No. 4, providing “Guidelines on Influenza A(H1N1) Prevention and Control at the Workplace,” for all employers and workers in the private sector.

Herrera, however, said the guidelines were not enough. He said the DOLE’s Occupational Health and Safety Center should require large employers to submit their plans to deal with Influenza A(H1N1).

TUCP previously warned that the lingering virus, if left unchecked, could soon invade the country’s factories and impair labor productivity. –Manila Times

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