Filipino repatriates from China arriving Feb. 8: Palace

The first batch of Filipino repatriates from the epicenter of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China are scheduled to arrive in the Philippines on Saturday, MalacaAang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Filipinos will be arriving at the Clark Airport in Pampanga and transported to Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

He said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was instructed by President Rodrigo Duterte to go to the site to properly address the people affected.

The arrival of the initial batch of repatriated Filipinos will be on Saturday at the Clark Airport and transportation to Fort Magsaysay has already been prepared, Panelo said in a statement a day after Duterte presided over a Cabinet meeting.

Around 42 Filipinos in Hubei province, mostly from the city of Wuhan, have expressed a desire to return home amid the 2019-nCoV outbreak, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

There are a total of 300 Filipinos in Hubei. Some 150 of the Filipinos are in Wuhan and the rest are from outside the city but within the province, the DFA said.

The Fort Magsaysay Drug Rehabilitation Center in Nueva Ecija can accommodate 10,000 individuals.

Aside from Fort Magsaysay, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the government is also eyeing the naval station at Caballo Island off Cavite province as a possible quarantine area for returning OFWs.

Meanwhile, Panelo assured that all safeguards made by concerned government agencies are now in place in order to contain the deadly virus.

The Bureau of Immigration has implemented the directives of the President such as the general restriction of entry of individuals coming from China and its special administrative regions -- Hong Kong and Macao, he said.

Officials on the ground, particularly barangay captains, have been ordered to act in accordance with the tempo dictated by the national government.

The Department of Education has issued advisories for students to avoid huge crowds and discouraged schools from conducting field trips.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office has intensified the dissemination of public health advisories and guidelines.

Panelo said the public is also encouraged to observe the protocols and rules designed to combat the virus.

There are two confirmed cases of nCoV-acute respiratory disease in the country, while the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) for possible infection has risen to 105.

Global deaths due to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have reached 427 with more than 20,000 infected, mostly from China, Hong Kong, and Macao, according to the World Health Organization.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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