By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
Filipinos returning from virus-hit Wuhan, China will, upon arrival in the country, be brought directly to the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City (NCC) in Tarlac, where they will undergo quarantine, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday morning in an interview over DZMM radio that Filipinos returning to the country for quarantine will have to undergo pre-departure screening in China first before being allowed to fly back to the Philippines.
If they show any symptoms of the 2019-novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (nCoV ARD), they will no longer be allowed to fly and have to proceed to a hospital in Wuhan, Duque said.
Speaking about quarantine procedures for the returnees, Duque said, “Mula sa paliparan, dadalhin sila doon, susunduin…Mas mahalaga na hiwalay na sasakyan (From the airport, they will be taken there, they will be fetched… what’s important is that they have a separate transport vehicle). Then disinfectant ng luggages (Then their luggage will be disinfected).”
According to Duque, repatriated Filipinos already have rooms set aside for them, while their bags will be tagged accordingly. Each repatriate will have his or her own room, which can accommodate two more if he or she has a child with them.
And in case any of the repatriates show symptoms while under quarantine, Duque said, “There is no problem as we have a dedicated ambulance that is ready to bring him or her to the hospital.”
President Duterte earlier said he wanted to welcome the returning Filipinos upon their arrival, but Duque said it would still “depend on [the decision of the] Presidential Security Group” because “it is not really necessary [for him to welcome them].”
“Kung talagang ‘di mapigilan, gagawa nalang tayo ng safe distance. Kunware bus na may glass, kakaway nalang siya para makita niya,” Duque added. (If this can’t be prevented, we will just create a safe distance. For example, he can be inside a bus from which he can wave and see them.)
“Maraming options naman, pinag-aaralan lahat ng solusyon.” (There are many options, we are just studying all the solutions.)