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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines have suspended the deployment of workers to Saudi Arabia due to a dispute over the cost of COVID-19 testing and quarantine.

Thousands of workers were affected by the temporary ban, including more than 400 passengers flying to Saudi Arabia on Friday who were not allowed to board their Philippine Airlines flights.

The Philippines is a leading global source of labor.

The government said it learned that workers had been asked to pay for COVID-19 testing and quarantine shelters in the oil-rich kingdom.

Labor Minister Silvestre Bello III. Said state regulations require recruitment agencies or their employers to pay for the tests and a 10-day stay in quarantine centers in Saudi Arabia, as well as protective clothing in the workplace. Such costs would put a heavy financial strain on Filipino workers, he said.

The punitive Filipino move could be short-lived after Bello said Saturday he had received assurances from the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Manila that Saudi employers would pay the costs. He said he would lift the ban once he received written assurance from Saudi Arabia.


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BEIJING – China reported 16 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, including two authorities believed to have been acquired locally.

The two locally transmitted cases were in Guangdong Province, south of Hong Kong, the National Health Commission reported. It is said that the other infections were probably acquired abroad.

According to the NHC, the death toll in mainland China is 4,636 out of 91,061 confirmed cases.


NEW YORK – Children in summer camps may, with a few exceptions, skip wearing masks outdoors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the guidelines on Friday. Children who are not fully vaccinated should still wear masks outside when in a crowd or in close close contact with others – and when they are inside.

However, fully vaccinated children do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors. It’s the first in a series of guideline updates aimed at taking into account recent CDC decisions to let Americans know they need to be less careful with masks and social distancing in the open air.



PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Phillies will soon be able to pack their ballpark.

The city said Friday that it will lift almost all of its pandemic restrictions more than a week ahead of schedule as new coronavirus infections plummet to their lowest level since September.

Company and event capacity limits, as well as social distancing rules, will be lifted on Wednesday.

The city had planned to lift restrictions on June 11, but officials said the relatively small number of new cases and a test positivity rate of less than 3% made it possible to do so earlier than planned.

The city’s interior mask mandate and one final call to bars and restaurants at 11 p.m. will continue through at least June 11, the city said.

Following the city’s announcement on Friday, the Phillies announced that the number of seats in Citizens Bank Park will be increased to 100% starting June 4, the club’s next home series.


ATLANTA – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp stated Friday that public schools no longer have permission to require masks for coronavirus protection, even though his executive order did not entirely ban such mandates.

The Republican governor’s written order came two days after Kemp previewed an interview with Fox News Channel on Wednesday saying, “The time for mandates is over.”

“We won’t have a mask mandate for our children,” said Kemp. “Our teachers had the opportunity to get vaccinated. It certainly doesn’t stop anyone from wearing a mask. ”

The actual order in which Georgia’s few remaining coronavirus restrictions will be adjusted is not so strongly worded.

Instead, Kemp’s order states that Georgia school districts can no longer claim that their authority to require masks comes from the governor.

It is unclear how many Georgia districts have ever required staff and students to wear masks. While a number of Atlanta school districts have enforced the requirements, many districts in outskirts and rural areas have only strongly recommended masks.

Anthony Michael Kreis, a professor of constitutional law at Georgia State University, said school authorities could likely require teachers and staff to wear masks, similar to how they impose dress codes, without the governor’s permission.

Kreis said Kemp’s order “sent this back to the local school authorities as a political issue, saying,” I don’t want you to do this and you can’t use me as a justification. ”

Kemp is running for re-election in 2022 and has taken steps to bolster support among Republican voters who are still troubled over claiming Kemp did not do enough to undo President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Georgia.


LONG BEACH, California – Crewmembers of ships arriving in the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are offered COVID-19 vaccinations.

The vaccinations are given free of charge to international crews aboard ships visiting San Pedro Bay.

The Port of Long Beach said in a statement Friday that more than 450 crew members from 27 ships have received the one-off Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Almost 480 other seafarers on 29 ships are booked for vaccinations.

“It’s great to see our city helping these seafarers who serve on the ships that carry the world’s cargo across the oceans and keeping this industry moving,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of Port of Long Beach. “These men and women are an important part of the supply chain and travel around the world.”

The vaccinations are a joint effort by the Port of Long Beach, the Long Beach Department of Health and the National Guard.


BOISE, Idaho – Idaho Governor Brad Little on Friday enacted an executive order lifting a mask mandate ban placed by the lieutenant governor outside the state, describing her actions as a tyrannical abuse of power and an “irresponsible self” political stunt. ”

The previous Republican governor was in his comments on the Republican Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin, a member of the far-right party that has worked to undermine Little’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, reluctant.

Last week she announced her candidacy for governor and challenged first-time incumbent Little. Her order to ban mask mandates in schools and public buildings on Thursday is widely viewed as part of that campaign, and she is already using that order for fundraising.

Few has never issued a nationwide mask mandate, but counties, cities, and schools have their own guidelines. Many were overturned as more Idaho residents were vaccinated, but two counties and 10 cities still have them, as do several schools.


DENVER – Two sheriff MPs who signed COVID-19 died in less than two weeks.

The Denver Sheriff’s Department announced the death of Deputy Daniel “Duke” Trujillo on Thursday. The former Marine was a seven-year-old department veteran who worked for the downtown prison in the city. His death followed the death of Deputy James Herrera. Herrera worked for the department for 25 years and was also assigned to the downtown prison.

After Trujillo’s death was announced, criticism surfaced on some of his social media posts that appeared to express skepticism about coronavirus vaccinations. As in other workplaces, according to the department, employees don’t need to be vaccinated.

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