DILI, March 31, 2020 (TATOLI) – Timorese workers in the UK and Ireland say they’re feeling the threat from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, himself infected with Covid-19, announced restrictions on March 23 lasting for three weeks, to combat the spread of the pandemic. Prime Minister Johnson said, crucially, that all citizens should stay in the confinements of their homes.
João Pedro, a Timorese expatriate living in Manchester in the country’s north told TATOLI many of his compatriots are very concerned about their situation.
“We are currently at home, given that the places where we worked have been shut down,” he said, via Facebook.
Mr Pedro also shared his concern expressed by all Timorese citizens, the fact that they are not receiving any salary supplements but need to continue their payments of things including electricity, rent and taxes.
José António, also based in Manchester, called on the Embassy of Timor-Leste in London to urgently address the needs of Timorese workers in England, considering the high risk of contagion in the country.
“The Timor-Leste embassy in London should come up with solutions to help stop the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
25,150 people have now contracted the virus in the UK, while some 1,789 people have died, according to the country’s health authorities.
Timor’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dionísio Babo Soares, encouraged workers and students who live abroad to remain calm and respect the restrictive measures imposed by each country.
He also highlighted the quality of the health systems abroad, particularly in Europe where hospitals are equipped with sophisticated and modern equipment.
“We are confident that the health system abroad can guarantee the proper treatment of all Timorese people,” he said.
Diplomats affected by Covid-19
MNEC Secretary-General Jorge Trindade Camões has confirmed one Timorese Diplomat residing abroad tested positive for Covid-19.
“I have just received information that the patient is recovering well. So, we are not too concerned at the moment about the clinical situation, which is evolving favourably,” he said yesterday.
“We have total confidence in the medical team, and [we expect] the patient will soon make a complete recovery,” he said.
Mr Camões said he would not release any more details for privacy reasons, but stressed the Diplomat would soon resume his duties.
The minister also revealed Timor’s Ambassador to China has been tested for the virus, and is currently receiving medical treatment.
Journalist: Hortencio Sanches
Editors: Anita di Pasquale, Robert Baird, Agapito dos Santos
Translation: Nelia Borges