Lockdown on quarantine for 45 Filipinos who came from Hubei, China

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The facility inside New Clark City Athletes’ Village in Capaz, Tarlac, where the 45 repatriated Filipinos from Hubei province in China will be quarantined for 14 days, will be put on a lockdown, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III revealed during the weekend.

Duque lamented that some local government units (LGus) have rejected the proposal to hold a place of quarantine for returning Filipinos from China in their respective areas.

Duque said he and Vince Dizon, President and CEO of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), agreed to put it on lockdown.

Dizon is the one who offered the site of a quarantine facility.

“But if we think about it carefully, the nature of the virus is not like that of the measles, TB (tuberculosis) and chickenpox which is airborne,” he said.

He allayed fears that the virus could infect those in communities near the facility. “So do not worry,” stressed Duque.

The first batch of Filipinos from China is set to arrive in the Philippines early today (Sunday morning).They will be transferred to the facility in Tarlac for a 14-day quarantine.

Upon alighting at the Clark International Airport from the chartered plane that will take them from Hubei, the DOH- Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) will screen all the 45 returning Filipinos.

Duque said the will also be screened for the symptoms of the new coronavirus in Hubei before boarding th chartered plane that would take them to the Philippines. He said those with symptoms would not be allowed to ride the plane as Chinese authorities will place them on quarantine.

However, after arriving in the countrymand symptoms of the new virus would manifest, Duque said a returning Filipono will immediately be admitted as patients under investigation (PUIs) at identified hospitals. Asymtomatic will be transported to the quarantine facility.

The quarantine facility, Duque related, has a swimming where where the repartees can swim to de-stress themselves. They will be staying in very nice airconditioned rooms complete with amenities like televisions and refrigerators.

He also said one room will be allotted per person to ensure patient’s safety and convenience. The room, which has individualized toilet, can also accommodate a family of three.

Meanwhile, although he did not mention the location of the communities opposed to the setting up of a wuarantine facility in their areas, Duque lamented this would show Filipinos have lost their sense of “bayanihan,” or cooperation, for which they had been had been known for.

“It’s sad. All of those which I reached out to, they’re against… the community is against the idea,” he said.

“I said, who will take care of our fellow Filipinos but Filipinos themselves? We cannot expect others to take care of our fellow countrymen if we ourselves would not take care of them,” said Duque.

The health chief said the people should show some patriotism, especially now that the country is facing a major threat.

“Sayang yung spirit of bayanihan, kilala tayo diyan. Papayag ba tayo na mawala ito? Magpakita tayo ng patriotism. It’s sad if the bayanihan spirit will be wasted. We’ have known for that. Would we let that disappear? We should show some patriotism,” stressed Duque.
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The government had initially planned to quarantine the repatriated Filipinos in the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.

But since it is not yet 100 percent ready for occupancy, Duque said they opted to house the returning Filipinos from China in the facility for the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year.

In a statement Capas City Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan said the DOH did not “in any way” involve the local government of Capas when it decided to use the New Clark City complex as a quarantine zone.

“We acknowledge that the Bases Conversion and Development Authority has full jurisdiction over NCC, but I, as the Mayor of Capas, appeal in behalf of all Capaseños to our dear President Rodrigo Duterte and DOH Secretary Francisco Duque to consider another place or facility as isolation area,” Catacutan said.

The mayor did not cite further reasons for his appeal and apprehension.

“The Capas City Council held an “emergency session” Friday morning to discuss the “sudden and uncoordinated move of the DOH to use the Athletes’ Village at the New Clark City… as a quarantine facility for the Filipino workers being repatriated from the epicenter of the 2019 deadly novel coronavirus,” the Capas City Information Office said in a separate Facebook post.

Meanwhile, in a news conference, Undersecretary Eric Domingo announced that as of 12 noon Friday, the cumulative total of Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) reported is 215.

Of the PUIs, he said 184 are currently admitted and isolated, 9 have refused admission, 17 have been discharged under strict monitoring, while 2 have died of other causes.

The first PUI death is a case of pneumonia in an immunocompromised patient while the second PUI death is a case of pneumonia in a patient with underlying restrictive lung disease.

“We are urging everyone, especially the PUIs who refused admission, to cooperate with the DOH, their Local Government Units and the Philippine National Police (PNP),” said Domingo.

He emphasized that It is our duty as citizens of this nation to assist in protecting the health of our fellowmen.

On the otherhand, Duque said “we owe it to the Filipino people to do our part in preventing the spread of this disease and put everyone’s minds at ease.”

DOH through its Centers for Health Development is coordinating with Local Government Units and the PNP to assist PUIs who are refusing hospitalization. DOH is also in close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and concerned Embassies on foreign nationals refusing admission.

The 215 total already includes the 3 confirmed 2019-nCoV ARD cases, of which 1 is still admitted, 1 has been discharged, and 1 has died. Meanwhile, 57 PUIs have tested negative and 3 tested positive for the 2019-nCoV. DOH is awaiting 155 results./Stacy Ang

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