Putting up several quarantine facilities in different regions of the country to accommodate the more than 400 Filipino repatriates arriving from Japan amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat would be irrational, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.
"Ayaw po nating mas tumaas ang risk of exposure of other individuals because we are going to distribute them in different areas of the country, dahil 'yun pa lang pong pagta-transport sa kanila pagpunta doon sa identified facility ay magiging very tedious na," Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a press briefing in Manila.
"The risk of transmitting—if there are infected individuals—ay magiging malaki. For now, it is not rational and it is for public health reasons that's why we have decided na iisang facility lang," she added.
Capas, Tarlac Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan had appealed to the DOH to scout for other quarantine areas after the Athlete's Village at the New Clark City was once again chosen to accommodate the hundreds of Filipinos from the quarantined cruise ship M/V Diamond Princess.
“At least naman po para mas ma-check natin ang kahandaan ng ibang regions, ng ibang islands, kamukha ng Mindanao at Visayas, ay kung puwede paghati-hatian ng mga ‘to para sa gano’n, hindi gano'n kalaki ang bagsak sa bayan ng Capas," Catacutan said.
Despite the misgivings of the local government, the New Clark City was used for the quarantine of the repatriates from China who have now been allowed to go home to their families.
Vergeire said that the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases may consider designating more quarantine facilities in other regions of the country should there be another batch of overseas Filipinos to be repatriated because of COVID-19.