Fort Magsaysay 'ready' to quarantine returning Filipinos from China

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2020 06:57 PM

The drug rehab facility features at least two mess halls, admission and assessment areas, common shower rooms, and a 2,500-bed capacity sleeping quarters. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The mega drug rehab facility in Fort Magsaysay is "ready" to house migrant Filipino workers from China for quarantine, the Department of National Defense said Tuesday.

Some 42 Filipinos are set to return home from Hubei province, where the new strain of virus was first detected, Malacañang earlier said. 

"It's always ready there, about half of that is not being used anyway, we can make that available for quarantine purposes of our OFWs. The full facility is capable of accommodating 10,000 patients," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told senators.

The Philippines has prohibited travel to and from China and its territories and would only allow its citizens and permanent visa holders to enter the country on the condition of undergoing a 14-day quarantine.

Government has allocated some P2 billion for the protective gear of health workers while Filipinos who may seek medical attention with symptoms of the novel coronavirus may also avail of health coverage from PhilHealth worth P14,000, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

Test kits for the new strain of virus are also being developed at the University of the Philippines' National Institutes of Health, according to Dr. Raul Destura, the scientist leading the development.

"This was developed 2 weeks ago, after they released the whole genome sequence of the virus," said Destura, director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

"The limiting factor was bringing in the raw materials in the country. We’re doing the protocol for strict manufacturing process. Hopefully by next week it will be ready for DOH to verify and validate."