Duterte vows to bring home Filipinos left in coronavirus-plagued China
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has assured Filipinos who remained in locked-down areas in China plagued with COVID-19, that government is ready to bring them home.
COVID-19 is the name given by the World Health Organization to refer to the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease that had already killed over 1,300 people in China, and infected nearly 60,000 as of Thursday.
The Philippines recorded the lone fatality outside of China, a 44-year old Chinese man who traveled from Wuhan, China, said to be the epicenter of the outbreak.
In a video message made public Thursday, Duterte also said that the government is prepared for any eventuality that may rise from the COVID-19 outbreak.
Thirty Filipinos were repatriated to the Philippines from the Chinese province of Hubei. Along with two consulate staff, the returning Filipinos will be quarantined for 14 days at the New Clark City Athletes’ Village in Capas, Tarlac.
The President noted that no Filipino has yet to be infected by the virus in the country as of now, thus, no local community transmission has been reported yet. Not mentioned by Duterte, however, were the five Filipinos aboard a cruise ship quarantined off Yokohama, Japan, who tested positive for COVID-19.
“Last Sunday, we repatriated several of our countrymen from the affected areas in China. The government is taking care of them while they are in quarantine,” Duterte said.
“To our kababayans (countrymen) who remain in locked-down areas in China, I assure you that the government is ready to bring you home if you want. Hindi namin kayo pababayaan (We will not neglect you),” he further said.
While Duterte said it is normal to “feel anxious, concerned and even afraid”, he called on the public to maintain proper hygiene and continue to monitor the latest update on the COVID-19 outbreak through legitimate sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH).
“Maging maingat at ‘yung mga impormasyon na importante na manggaling sa WHO ay ating pakinggan, at huwag makinig diyan sa mga haka-haka. Sa gobyreno kayo nakatutok,” Duterte said.
(Be careful and listen to the important information that comes from WHO, and don’t listen to the speculation. You focused only on government information.)
“Nandiyan ang totoo sa gobyerno, wala diyan sa mga taong haka-haka na wala naman ginawa kung hindi manakot sa kapwa niya tao,” he added.
(The truth will come from the government, not in the speculation people who do nothing but instill fear to their fellow.)
The President further called on Filipinos to trust and support the government in the face of the COVID-19 menace.
The DOH has reported three confirmed cases of the new coronavirus strain in the country. The first two cases were a Chinese couple who traveled to the country from Wuhan, China. The man died on Feb. 1, the first nCoV death outside China.
The third case, meanwhile, was a 60-year-old Chinese woman who arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan via Hong Kong on Jan. 20.
As of Wednesday, Health officials are currently monitoring 408 patients for suspected COVID-19 infection.
The WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global public health emergency which constitutes a “very grave threat” for the world.
Edited by EDV
For more information about the novel coronavirus click here.
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