Palace: PH prepared to help Pinoys amid COVID-19 threat

Published March 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos 

Malacañang assured Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad that the government is prepared to protect them following reports of new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Panelo made the statement after the repatriation of 163 Filipinos from Macau Saturday afternoon.

In his statement Saturday, Panelo thanked the Macau authorities for arranging the chartered flight that arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport March 7.

“With the surge of news reports on the coronavirus disease 2019, the Philippine Government remains ready and is prepared in serving and protecting Filipinos here and abroad,” Panelo said Saturday.

“We thank the authorities of Macau, in close coordination with the Philippine Consulate General in the aforesaid Special Administrative Region, for arranging this repatriation flight.”

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), five passengers were unable to board for various reasons while another passenger joined late.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said the Filipino repatriates from Macau will undergo health assessments to see if they have symptoms of the disease.

The Philippines has a standing travel ban on China, including its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau, following the outbreak of COVID-19 which is said to have originated in Wuhan, China.

The government relaxed its restrictions last month, but only for Filipinos returning to Hong Kong and Macau.

On Saturday, President Duterte approved the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) to declare a State of Public Health Emergency following the confirmation of local transmission of the disease in the country.