Filipinos in China who would like to return to the Philippines at the height of the novel coronavirus threat will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine period upon their arrival, Health and Foreign Affairs officials said on Tuesday.
“For those who choose to return, you will be taken care of in a health facility for monitoring and further medical management,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press conference.
“We are now arranging one place where we can quarantine all of them for case management rather than assigning them to different facilities,” he added, without disclosing yet the exact location of the quarantine area.
Duque said that the government will shoulder the logistical and medical costs of being quarantined for two weeks.
“We will have to spend for that, certainly. As part of the quarantine measure, we will have to sustain them within the 14 days that they are isolated.”
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said that local officials will coordinate with the Chinese government to facilitate the safe transport of Filipinos from Wuhan City—the epicenter of the outbreak—which is currently on lockdown.
“They have assured us that they are ready to address all of the concerns that any Filipino may have in that area, including the need to repatriate if they do wish to come home,” Dulay said.
Around 300 Filipinos are staying in Hubei province and over 150 of whom were in its capital Wuhan City.
When pressed for how much will the government allocate for measures to arrest the possible spread of the novel coronavirus, Duque said that budget is the least of the DOH’s concern right now and stressed that prioritizing the protection of Filipinos is paramount.
“We’ll talk about budgetary matters later,” he said.
Twenyty-four persons in the Philippines—all foreigners—are under investigation for possible novel coronavius infection, according to the DOH.
There are no confirmed cases yet as of Tuesday afternoon.
The death toll in China caused by this new strain of coronavirus has already reached over 100. The number of infected climbed to more than 4,000, according to the World Health Organization. — BM, GMA News