MANILA- Residents of Capas town in Tarlac need not worry about a possible spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus since authorities placed enough safeguards in the quarantine zone for repatriated Filipinos from the epicenter of the virus, a government official said Monday.
Police are guarding the perimeter of the quarantine site in New Clark City, an 18-minute drive from Capas while health authorities guard the repatriated Filipinos under observation, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said.
"There is really nothing for the people of Capas to be worried about since none of these repatriates showed symptoms of the disease," DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya told reporters in Malacañang.
Thirty Filipinos from the Chinese city of Wuhan arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, marking the country's first evacuation of its nationals from the epicenter of the new coronavirus which has killed at least 900 people.
Prior to the arrival of repatriated Filipinos, Capas town Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan urged the national government to reconsider New Clark City as a quarantine site, saying the local government was not consulted in the "last-minute" decision.
Malaya on Monday however clarified that the national government need not seek the permission of the local government of Capas for the quarantine site since New Clark City is a property of the national government managed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
He, however, assured residents of Capas that "all precautionary measures are in place to ensure their safety and protection to prevent the spread of the coronavirus."
The Philippines has so far monitored 267 patients suspected of carrying the new strain of virus, of whom 230 were admitted to hospitals and 19 were discharged. Three, all Chinese nationals, were confirmed to have acquired the virus.
The country recorded the first fatality outside of China with the death of a 44-year-old patient on Feb. 1.