Pinoys in virus-stricken S. Korean city appeal for face masks


Posted at Mar 01 2020 08:58 AM | Updated as of Mar 01 2020 09:13 AM

Pinoys in virus-stricken S. Korean city appeal for face masks 1
A man wearing a mask to prevent contracting the coronavirus walks past a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony in Daegu, South Korea February 21, 2020. Kim Hong-Ji, Reuters

MANILA - Filipinos in the virus-stricken city of Daegu in South Korea are appealing for face masks as they undertake protective measures after the East Asian country has so far recorded over 3,000 cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a migrant worker said Sunday.

The Filipinos have appealed to the Philippine Embassy in Seoul for masks but it has trouble finding supplies, according to factory worker Redjie de Guzman Dabu.

"Hirap po talaga kami sa masks ngayon," Dabu radio DZMM by phone, noting that either there are no stocks, or prices of the limited available pieces have more than doubled.

(It's really difficult for us to get masks here now.)

Dabu said any donations can be coursed through the embassy, which has contacts with the Filipino community in Daegu.

"Kaniya-kaniyang ingat po yung nangyayari sa'min. Kung puwedeng 'di ka na lamabas, wag ka nang lalabas kasi nga, takot kaming mahawaan. Kaya, ayun, magsuot lang po ng mask," Dabu said.

(Every Filipino is undertaking protective measures. We don't go outside as much as possible because we're afraid of getting infected. We just wear masks.)

"Kung ako po ang tatanungin, baka 90 percent sa mga Pinoy dito, kahit may sakit, makikipagsapalaran pa rin sila dito. Siguro 'di muna uuwi hangga't may pag-asa pa, hangga't 'di pa talaga delikado."

(In my opinion, maybe 90 percent of Filipinos here will stay. They won't go home yet as long as there's hope, as long as it's not yet dangerous.)

Work hours have been shortened while big malls and a few schools have closed due to the virus outbreak, Dabu shared.

"Wag po kayong mag-alala, medyo okay naman po dito. Di kami pinapabayaan," Dabu told his family.

(Don't worry, we're okay here. We're not being neglected.)

"Maganda po yung procedure ng government nila dito. Talagang tinututukan nila sino 'yung may sakit. Kaya dumadami 'yung bilang ng infected dito, di po sila tumitigil sa [paghahanap] sa mga may virus."

(The government procedure here is good. They really focus on those infected. That's why the number continues to increase because they don't stop looking for those who contracted the virus.)

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South Korea has the most cases outside China, with 3,150 infections as 813 more patients were reported on Saturday -- the country's biggest increase to date. Most of the cases are recorded in Daegu, located south of the capital Seoul.

No Filipino has so far contracted the illness, the Philippine Embassy in Seoul earlier said.

The vast majority of infections have been in China but more daily cases are now logged outside the country, with South Korea, Italy and Iran emerging as major hotspots.

More than 2,900 people have died and over 85,000 have been infected worldwide since it was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

--With Agence France-Presse