Filipinos coming home from Hubei province, ground-zero of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, will undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine period in New Clark City’s athletes’ village in Tarlac, instead of Fort Magsaysay, the military facility in Nueva Ecija, as previously planned.
Health Department Secretary Francisco Duque III told the press yesterday that two buildings in the City’s athlete’s village will house the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), one for asymptomatic patients, and another for those with symptoms. Duque assures that the OFWs will be treated with “the utmost care and dignity as they go through the process of repatriation,” and that they will be accommodated in “nice rooms” in the village, where athletes stayed during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
But, he added, they will be admitted to the facility as “patients under investigation” whose contact to the outside world will be limited, and they will only be allowed to speak with their family over the internet.
Medical staff from five nearby hospitals will be tending to the OFWs, and Duque said that the team will provide “hygiene kits, disinfectant solutions, transportation, and other things that will be needed in the quarantine process.”
Earlier, the health chief said that Fort Magsaysay, which can accommodate up to 10,000 individuals, may not be ready in time for the repatriated Filipinos’ arrival, and had planned on postponing the repatriation for at least two days. Shortly after, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, which built New Clark City, offered the facility.
Duque confirms that around 45 OFWs are set to be repatriated after they were cleared by the Chinese authorities for travel. The first group will arrive on Sunday.
There have been no additional confirmed cases in the Philippines as of Friday morning, but the country continues to monitor more than 100 suspected infections, including at least six passengers who traveled on the same flight as an infected Chinese couple.
In a separate statement today, the health chief urged the public to cooperate with the Health Department in submitting themselves to officials for investigation if they show or suspect having symptoms of the virus. This comes after Duque said 10 of 178 people under investigation for the coronavirus refused to be admitted to hospitals.