Filipinos repatriated from China virus epicenter to arrive Saturday

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2020 07:51 AM

MANILA- Filipinos repatriated from China, the origin of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, are expected to arrive in the Philippines on Saturday, Malacañang said Wednesday.

The returning Filipinos will arrive at the Clark International Airport and will undergo mandatory quarantine at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

"The President instructed the Health Secretary to go to the site to properly address the people affected in detail,” Panelo added.

There are 42 Filipinos in the Chinese province of Hubei, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, who have requested for repatriation according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

No Filipinos in China have been confirmed to be infected with the virus, which causes flu-like symptoms, the DFA said.

Government has set up Fort Magsaysay as a quarantine site for people suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus. The Nueva Ecija military camp can accommodate up to 10,000 individuals, the Palace said.

Fears of the virus prompted the Philippines earlier this week to impose a temporary travel ban on China and its territories in a bid to control the spread of the pathogen.

Filipino citizens and those who hold a permanent resident visa issued by the Philippine government however may enter the country but will undergo a 14-day quarantine.

There are 295,047 Filipinos in mainland China, according to government data. Around 150 are in Wuhan City, where initial cases of the virus were reported last year.