Philippines stops health workers going abroad to fight coronavirus

File Photo: Filipino doctor Rafael Bundoc (front R) from the University of the Philippines medical school, along with nurses, prepares one of the cadavers for a spine surgery workshop at the anatomy room of the university in Manila on June 26, 2019. (Photo: TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines has stopped doctors, nurses, medics and other healthcare workers from going abroad while it needs their skills to meet the threat of the coronavirus spreading at home, a foreign affairs official said.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration issued the order on April 2, though it was only made public on Friday.

The aim is "to prioritize human resource allocation for the national health care system," according to the resolution posted on Twitter by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay.

The ban will remain in place until the Philippines ends its state of emergency and countries that would hire the medical personnel lift their coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

As of Friday, the Philippines had recorded 4,195 cases of coronavirus, with 221 deaths.

The government has also suspended negotiations for bilateral labour agreements covering government-to-government deployment of health workers.

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz)