TORONTO -- The Philippines has temporarily barred its health-care workers from going abroad to ensure the country has enough medical professionals to fight the COVID-19 crisis at home.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) says the temporary deployment ban will remain in place until the Philippines ends its state of emergency and until countries that usually hire its medical personnel lift their travel restrictions.

The resolution calls for prioritizing the "human resource allocation for the national health care system at the time of the national state emergency."

Workers under the ban include doctors, nurses, microbiologists, molecular biologists, medical technologists, clinical analysts and respiratory therapists.

Also included are pharmacists, laboratory technicians, radiologic technicians, nursing assistants, medical equipment operators and hospital equipment repairmen.

The move comes as Filipino health care workers, whose skills are now considered critical, struggle to cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

As of Friday morning, the Philippines had recorded 4,195 cases of COVID-19 with 221 deaths and 140 recoveries.

The POEA issued the order on April 2, but it was only made public on Friday.