30 Filipino repatriates from Wuhan cleared of COVID-19; leave quarantine facility
Some 49 individuals, including the 30 repatriated Filipinos from Wuhan, China, left the New Clark City quarantine facility in Tarlac on Saturday after the Department of Health (DOH) cleared them of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) .
The Department of Health (DOH), together with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), held a send-off ceremony for all those who underwent the 14-day quarantine at the Athlete's Village in New Clark City, Capas.
Aside from the 30 overseas Filipino workers from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, those who also completed the quarantine were the five DOH medical team members, five DFA response team members, six plane crew, and three ground personnel, who all assisted in the repatriation of the OFWs.
The OFWs were the first batch of repatriates brought back by the government from COVID-19-affected areas. The group arrived last February 9.
"We are glad that all our repatriates from China are well and did not exhibit any signs of the COVID-19. Through everyone’s cooperation, we have zero infections and zero mortality. We also welcome a most wondrous gift, the birth of a baby boy, who was delivered healthy and strong at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
DOH said the repatriates received certifications of quarantine completion from DOH and were given financial assistance by the DFA, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The DOH also issued a resolution recognizing and thanking the DFA, OWWA, Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Quarantine, Central Luzon Center for Health Development, the Local Government Unit of Capas, and the DOH hospitals, for their invaluable contributions in the mission.
“Also among those deserving of utmost gratitude are the hospital teams composed of personnel from Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital, Mariveles Mental Wellness and General Hospital, Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center, Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, Talavera General Hospital, BOQ, and Central Luzon CHD who from the start have tirelessly cared for our quarantined kababayans” Duque said.
“We extend our deepest gratitude to the selfless individuals who have braved threats and health risks to offer help to their fellow Filipinos. Most notably, we thank the five-man DOH Team, Dr. Neptali Labasan from Bureau of Quarantine as Team Leader, Dr. Oliver Macalinao from San Lorenzo Ruiz General Hospital, Mr. Elmer Collong and Mr. Rowell Divinagracia from the Philippine Heart Center, and Mr. Jose A. Juan, Jr. from the Health Emergency Management Bureau. Your dedication and commitment to help our kababayans in need deserve the highest commendations,” he added.
In another statement, the DOH said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease has unanimously resolved to tentatively schedule the repatriation of overseas Filipinos aboard the M/V Diamond Princess Cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan early next week.
“This is to allow the Japanese health authorities to complete the laboratory testing of the 400-plus Filipino crew members aboard the ship and comply with the established Japanese quarantine protocols,” it said.
DOH said the IATF-EID is adjusting the schedule out of an abundance of caution with a view to safeguarding the health and safety of the OFs onboard the Diamond Princess Cruise ship.
“The Japanese government has ensured that appropriate health services are being provided to affected OFs aboard the ship,” it said.
“Our Tokyo Embassy is working closely with the Japanese health and foreign ministry to complete the quarantine protocols for the Philippine Government to repatriate our Filipino crew members as soon as possible,” it added.
In a radio interview over DZMM, Duque said those who will be coming from Japan will be quarantined at the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center inside the Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija but while its being prepared, they will temporarily stay at the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City.
“Fort Magsaysay is being prepared but it is not like the Athelete’s Village that is already complete (with equipment)… it will take time,” he said.
The Health secretary again urged the local chief executives to support the government initiative to again place the Filipino repatriates at the stat-owned Athlete's Village while Fort Magsaysay is still being prepared. Ella Dionisio/DMS