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Philippines Duterte approves ending overseas travel ban on healthcare workers, minister says

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MANILA, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved ending a ban on deploying the nation's healthcare workers, his labour minister said on Saturday, clearing the way for thousands of nurses to take up jobs overseas.

"The president already approved the lifting of the temporary suspension of deployment of nurses and other medical workers," Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello told Reuters.

But to ensure the Philippines, which has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, will have enough medical professionals to fight the pandemic, only 5,000 healthcare workers will be allowed to leave every year, Bello said. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by William Mallard)