Envoy says Pinoys in China to get 'best care' amid new coronavirus outbreak

Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2020 06:49 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2020 06:51 PM

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian speaks to reporters Friday on the spread of the new coronavirus. Handout

MANILA - The Chinese government will give the "best care" for Filipinos staying in China, its envoy in Manila said Friday, amid rising cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov).

"We are also concerned about your people in China. I know you have nationals in China. We can assure that they will have the best treatment and best care from authorities concerned," Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian told reporters in a press briefing.

"We believe China and the Philippines [have] come through thick and thin. We will continue to go hand in hand to overcome the difficulties and we are very confident to bring our people back on track at an early date," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier assured the estimated 150 Filipinos in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, that the government is ready to repatriate them subject to precautionary measures.

Filipinos were advised to go on "self-quarantine" by staying indoors and "minimizing" contact with crowds to avoid the new strain of coronavirus in China, as officials in the Philippines discussed evacuation plans for them.

The death toll in China from the new coronavirus reached 213 on Friday, with overall cases worldwide rising rapidly in an outbreak that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency.

The death toll in Hubei province -- where Wuhan is -- had risen to 204 and there were 9,692 cases of infection nationally as of Thursday, Chinese health authorities said. About 100 cases have been reported in at least 18 other countries, with no deaths outside China.

Duterte on Friday ordered a ban on travelers coming from Hubei, where Chinese authorities have enforced expanding lockdown measures in a bid to contain the virus.

Huang said Chinese President Xi Jinping "is personally commanding this battle" against the epidemic that has prompted people in Asia to rush to buy face masks amid limited supply.

"The Chinese people are now fighting very hard against this epidemic," he said. -- with a report from Reuters