By Marjaleen Ramos
New Clark City (NCC) is ready for the repatriation of the Filipino crew and passengers of the coronavirus-infected vessel docked off Japan.
Capas, Tarlac Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan said Tuesday over 400 Filipino crew members who are on board of MV Diamond Princess in Yokohama, Japan are set to arrive today.
“Nakahanda na po ang higit limang daang kwarto, kasi ang protocol po diyan ay individual room para ma-avoid ang paghahawa kung meron mang mag-positive. Wala naman po sana,” Catacutan said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
“Kung itong New Clark City lang po ang pag-uusapan ay very much ready na po para sa mga parating nating kapwang Pilipino,” he added.
Catacutan said he earlier appealed for the other Filipino evacuees from the coronavirus-infected vessel to be quarantined in other sites outside Luzon.
“Kami ay patuloy na nakikiusap sa Department of Health (DOH), up to the last minute, na kung sana, pwede sanang hatiin, para at least hindi ganon kalaki yung volume na i-ku-quarantine sa Capas,” Catacutan said.
“Pero sad to say, wala po atang makita kasing ready na facilities ang DOH kaya dito po lahat sa Capas dadalhin, na umaabot limang daan,” he continued. “Ang ipinapakausap na lang namin ngayon dagdagan yung medical support. Increase the medical support outside the quarantine area,” he added.
Catacutan also appealed to the government to strictly observe proper handling and disposal of waste in the NCC to prevent the spread of the virus.
“I am really appealing to the national government na sana po talaga, we should follow the protocol in the quarantine area. Especially, I am very much particular in the proper handling and disposal of waste inside the quarantine area. Kasi kung medyo hindi tama yung pag-hahandling at disposal, baka at the end of the day, yan po ang magkalat ng virus.”
The town mayor, meanwhile, said that the health department was able to address the protocol, security measures in the area.
NCC was first used to quarantine 49 Filipinos from Hubei, China, particularly in Wuhan City, the ground zero of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Catacutan earlier said the health department did not involve the Capas local government regarding the decision to make NCC the quarantine site for returning Filipinos.