MANILA -- The Department of Health on Wednesday said protocols are in place to ensure the safety of Tarlac residents, as more than 400 Filipino repatriates are being observed at New Clark City, in Capas town for signs of COVID-19.
On Tuesday evening, 445 Filipinos from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arrived in the Philippines and were immediately brought to the quarantine facility at New Clark City, alongside 13 government personnel who assisted in the repatriation.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, during a press conference on Wednesday, emphasized that only those who tested negative for COVID-19 were allowed to go home.
“There were 80 who tested positive. They were not brought home. We don’t have a problem there because they were left behind,” Duque said, explaining that those who were actually sick are recovering at hospitals in Japan.
As of Wednesday, almost 700 passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also pointed out that the health workers monitoring the repatriates are also staying within the compound for the next 14 days.
“They are going to stay with the patients all throughout the 14-day quarantine period. So minimal exposure, that is our objective to prevent them from potentially spreading the disease," she said.
As for their supplies, the Magsaysay Maritime Corp., which employs the cruise ship staff, will be bringing in food just up to the lobby of the building.
“Inside we have aides who will bring the logistical requirements. They are donning protective equipment,” she said.
“We also hired a waste disposal company,” Vergeire added. “The waste there will be considered hazardous waste.”