Gov: Why only Tarlac as quarantine site?
The governor of Tarlac on Friday expressed concern that the number of repatriates may be “too much” for Athletes’ Village in New Clark City (NCC), their designated quarantine site in the province.
Malacañang confirmed on Friday the repatriation by “early next week” of about 500 Filipinos from the coronavirus-hit MV Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama, Japan.
In a statement, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said 497 Filipinos “are expected to arrive early next week at the Clark International Airport through two chartered flights from the Haneda Airport.”
“With respect to asymptomatic repatriates, they shall be securely transported to the Athletes’ Village…to again undergo fourteen days of quarantine,” he added.
“[A]ny repatriate who will manifest symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) shall be brought immediately to the nearest hospital that may be referred by the Department of Health,” Panelo also said.
‘Proper quarantine site’
Addressing health officials on Friday, Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap said that if the country had effective health protocols and measures on Covid-19, other quarantine sites outside Tarlac should be considered.
“Is it fair that Tarlac alone carries the entire burden? Five hundred may be a bit too much,” Yap said.
She added: “Repeatedly and until now, we have failed to set up a proper quarantine site. We all stand as one, all Filipinos. I recognize the great urgency to save and give refuge to our brothers abroad. Unfortunately, the [Department of Health] sees that the only quick remedy is to house them at NCC. “
In a press conference earlier on Friday, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire updated to 52 the number of infected among the Filipinos in the cruise ship. To date, only one has recovered from the disease.
Yap said the provincial government’s task force on Covid-19 will continue to disseminate information in the villages near NCC to allay fears of the disease spreading.
“As the mother of our province, I ask all of us to be strong. I have faith we will overcome all trials safely. We will welcome our brothers as that is the humane and Christian thing to do,” she said.
In a separate statement, Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan said, “ We are heeding the call and there is no turning back as Capaseños will never back out from the challenge being posed to us.”
NCC, which is under the jurisdiction of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), traverses Capas and nearby Bamban town.
Vergeire, in her press conference, said 10-man medical team at NCC will be assigned for every 100 repatriates during their quarantine period.
She said Magsaysay Maritime Corp. will shoulder the repatriates’ transportation expenses as well as food, lodging, personal hygiene kits and disinfectants, waste disposal services and other incidental expenses.
The government, besides providing medical personnel, will bear the hospitalization expenses of the repatriates and transportation from the airport to NCC.
The Department of Health has identified 16 hospitals where the repatriates may be brought should they show symptoms of the virus or fall ill.
Vergeire said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will also provide livelihood packages to the repatriates and cover their transportation expenses from Manila to their respective destinations after the quarantine period.
Filipinos in Wuhan
Vergeire also disclosed that the 49 Filipinos from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, are also due to be repatriated.
She said none of the 30 overseas Filipino workers and 19 flight crew members from Wuhan showed symptoms of the disease during their 14-day quarantine.
“We are glad that our repatriates are all well and safe from Covid-19,” she said.
The World Health Organization, however, advised the Wuhan repatriates that they should seek medical advice if they develop symptoms, as there are “sporadic” cases of the incubation period of the virus lasting for up to 23 days.
Here in the country, the number of persons under observation has risen to 597 as of Friday. Of these, 139 remain hospitalized and the others have been discharged.
The number of confirmed cases remains three—all Chinese nationals who were on vacation in the country. One has died while two have since recovered and have returned to China.
Locsin, Wang meet
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, updated each other Thursday on their countries’ efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The two met at the sidelines of the Asean-China special foreign ministers meeting in Vientiane, Laos.
The DFA, in a statement on Friday, said Locsin handed a letter from President Duterte for Chinese President Xi Jinping conveying the Philippines’ “solidarity and support.”
In reply, Wang “manifested gratitude for the Philippine government’s support for China amid the Covid-19 outbreak, attesting to the deepening of mutual trust and friendship between the Philippines and China,” the DFA said.—WITH REPORTS BY MARIA ADELAIDA CALAYAG, JULIE M. AURELIO AND JEROME ANING
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