Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday reported that after an inspection facilitated by Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon, in Capas Tarlac, the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has finalized the protocols and procedure to be implemented for the repatriation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) coming from Hubei Province, China.

To ensure the health and safety of Filipinos in Hubei Province, China, the Department of Health (DOH) has recommended the voluntary repatriation of all Overseas Filipinos in the province due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

The Health Secretary highlighted the necessity of a whole-of-government approach in the implementation of the repatriation and quarantine process and has expressed gratitude to the BCDA which offered the use of the New Clark City as the quarantine area for repatriated Filipinos.

“We plan to bring back our fellow Filipinos here in the country as seamlessly and efficiently as possible. Procedures were set into place from the moment our OFW kababayans board the plane up until their arrival at New Clark City,” Duque said.

While on board, repatriated OFWs will be oriented on the quarantine process and will be asked to fill-out health cards. Centralized processing of all immigration documents will also be done.

Upon alighting the plane, BOQ shall screen all passengers. All OFWs with symptoms shall immediately be admitted as patients under investigation (PUIs) at identified hospitals, while asymptomatic OFWs will be transported to the quarantine facility.

The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) will coordinate the disinfection of all luggages and the plane used, while the Center for Health Development (CHD) Central Luzon will be in charge of disinfecting the vehicles used for transport.

During the quarantine period, one room will be allotted per person to ensure patient’s safety and convenience. The room can also accommodate a family of three. The movement of the quarantined people shall be limited to the building only, and packed lunch will be served and prepared for them every day within the facility.

DOH shall be in charge of the management, coordination, and logistics of the entire quarantine process. All DOH hospitals in the region will deck for the deployment of medical teams in the quarantine area.

“We will be providing the needed medical logistics including hygiene kits, disinfectant solutions, transportation, and other things that will be needed in the quarantine process,” Duque added.

Upon completion of the 14-day quarantine period, the discharge of all repatriated OFWs shall be facilitated by the Overseas Workers Welfare Authority (OWWA) in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“Rest assured that all our kababayans will be treated with utmost care and dignity as they go through the whole process of repatriation. Their comfort and welfare throughout the process is of utmost priority to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Department of Health,” Duque also said./Stacy Ang

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