Military facility in Nueva Ecija to be used as quarantine for Filipinos repatriated from China

Inside Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. <i>Photo: Jonathan Cellona/ABS-CBN News</i>
Inside Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. Photo: Jonathan Cellona/ABS-CBN News

Filipinos returning from Hubei province, ground zero of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, will be quarantined in a drug rehabilitation facility in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, the largest military base in the country, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo announced today.

The first group of overseas Filipino workers is expected to arrive in the Philippines on Saturday at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga. They will then be transported to Fort Magsaysay, almost a two-hour drive from Clark. The overseas workers had opted to return home as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread across China, claiming the lives of at least 490 people as of today.

Panelo said that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has personally prepared the quarantine facility where the Filipinos will stay for 14 days.

Read: Duterte bans all flights from China as Wuhan coronavirus patient dies in PH

“President [Rodrigo] Duterte expressed his concerns about the welfare of the Filipinos flying from China or its Special Administrative Regions to the country. Secretary Duque reported that they are now preparing Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija as a quarantine area, which can accommodate 10,000 individuals,” Panelo said in a statement.

The preparation for the quarantine facility was announced a day after Duterte insisted that the government has everything under control in terms of the Wuhan virus epidemic. The president said in a presser that while there were two Chinese patients who died in Manila’s quarantine, only one death was definitively attributable to coronavirus.

He also added that he has no plans of stopping Chinese nationals traveling to the Philippines from other countries such as Canada and the United States, despite his decision to bar travelers of all nationalities coming directly from any part of China itself.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong confirmed today that a second Filipino domestic worker has been put in quarantine for 14 days because of the Wuhan virus, ABS-CBN News reports. The worker is reportedly the employee of the 39-year-old man who died on Tuesday, the first person in Hong Kong to pass away due to the virus.

Late last month, it was reported that another Filipino domestic worker was quarantined after she was exposed to two of her employer’s guests who tested positive of the disease.

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