Opponents of nCoV quarantine op in Tarlac may go to court: DOJ

MANILA The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sunday said any official or resident of Capas, Tarlac with interest in business, tourism, investment, or health may file a complaint before the courts to question the use of the Southeast Asian Games athletes' village in the province as quarantine facilities amid the 2019 novel coronavirus threat.

"The court will weigh their private or community interests against the wider public health and social welfare considerations. In the law on injunctions, this is known as the doctrine of relative inconvenience," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

The DOJ chief added that while a directive from the national government through the Department of Health takes precedence over the interest of the local government unit of Capas, it will be up to the judiciary whether to uphold any objections against the national government.

"Legally, that's for the court to decide," Guevarra said.

Thirty Filipinos including one infant was flown in by the Department of Foreign Affairs on Sunday morning to Clark International Airport from Wuhan in Hubei, China the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV ARD outbreak last month.

The group will be subjected to quarantine to rule out the possible spread of the virus in the country.

They may also be joined by other individuals who had contact with a couple from China who tested positive for the virus.

A Justice official earlier said a soon-to-be implemented system for sharing information of air passengers between airlines and government agencies would cut delays in tracing individuals potentially affected by a health scare such as the 2019-nCoV virus crisis.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete told reporters that the Bureau of Immigration's Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) would help the government with leads on the whereabouts of passengers in a flight when such passengers need to be contacted.

The couple, a 38-year old woman and 44-year-old man who traveled from Wuhan via Hong Kong, then Cebu, Dumaguete, and Manila on board Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flights has triggered a flurry of government efforts to trace individuals with persons they had contact with including passengers seated near them during the flights.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III initially claimed before a Senate inquiry that efforts to trace all contacts had been partly due to hesitation on the part of airlines to share the manifest details to health officials.

Both the Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have been ordered to assist in the said efforts.

The two passengers have been confined to a hospital in Manila with the man eventually dying of complications from the virus. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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