Filipinos from Wuhan get 'loving' welcome from Tarlac after protests: mayor

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2020 08:41 AM | Updated as of Feb 10 2020 11:12 AM

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MANILA — Filipinos rescued from Wuhan, China - the epicenter of a global coronavirus outbreak - received a "loving" welcome from the provincial government of Tarlac after some of its residents and officials objected to the group's quarantine in their area, the mayor of Capas said Monday. 

Residents "panicked" after the health department announced that it would quarantine 32 Filipinos from Wuhan in Capas, Tarlac without alleged prior consultation with officials, the town's Mayor Rey Catacutan said. 

After a dialogue with health officials on Saturday, residents stopped a rally while the Capas town council dropped a planned resolution against the quarantine, he said.

The local government also sent towels and offered to shoulder the meals of those quarantined at the Athletes' Village, which is just half a kilometer away from a residential area, said Catacutan. 

"Ang sumalubong po sa ating mga kababayang OFWs ay hindi po protesta kundi isang malugod at mapagmahal na pagwe-welcome sa kanila sa bayan ng Capas," the mayor told DZMM. 

(What welcomed our OFWs was not protests, but a warm and loving welcome from the town of Capas.) 

"Wala na po silang kinatatakutan... Ang mga taga-Capas ay Pilipino na nagmamahal po ng kapwa Pilipino."
 
(They have nothing to fear now. Capas residents are Filipinos who love their compatriots.) 

The health department promised to find a different permanent quarantine area and 32 Filipinos from Wuhan would be the "first and last batch" quarantined at the Athletes' Village, said Catacutan. 

None of the repatriated Filipinos have shown any symptoms of the novel coronavirus that has killed 900, mostly in China, Health Spokesperson and Undersecretary Eric Domingo said in a separate DZMM interview. 

Health workers will be deployed to monitor and allay the fears of communities surrounding the Athletes' Village, he added. 

The disease is not airborne and instead spreads through respiratory droplets within 10 feet of a patient, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier noted. 

"Walang problema sa pangamba na baka malagay sa alanganin ang mga komunidad," he said. 

(There is no problem over concerns that nearby communities might be put in jeopardy.) 

The Philippines has confirmed 3 cases, including 1 death, all from Wuhan. Manila also banned all inbound travel from China, Macau and Hong Kong. 

Authorities are monitoring 281 people for possible coronavirus infection, including 240 who were admitted in hospitals, the health department said Sunday.