Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Sunday allayed fears of local government unit (LGU) officials and residents, saying preventive measures are in place at the Athletes’ Village inside the New Clark City (NCC) in Capas, Tarlac.
Año made the assurance as 30 Filipinos from Wuhan City, ground zero of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), arrived on board a chartered flight at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Air Base on Sunday.
Upon their arrival, the Filipinos were transferred from the plane into their dedicated buses, and brought to the Athlete’s Village which will be their home for the 14-day quarantine period.
“While we take note of the sentiments of Capas, Tarlac LGU and its residents, the national government has already decided out of necessity and of national interest to use the Athletes Village in NCC,” Año told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“They are also Filipinos who deserve our help and understanding. This is the time that we must help each other. There is no risk to the residents of Capas, Tarlac. How could that be when they will not even see a glimpse or shadow of our OFWs in the Athletes’ Village,” he stressed.
The Athlete’s Village along with other facilities like the 20,000-seater Athletics’ Stadium and Aquatic Center inside the 9,450-hectare NCC was used for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Capas, Tarlac Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan reportedly appealed to the Department of Health and President Rodrigo Duterte to look for another place for the repatriated Filipinos.
Año, however, said there is nothing to worry about since protective measures have been implemented and that those will be quarantined for 14 days have no symptoms of nCoV.
“Upon arrival, they will be subjected to another screening and anybody that would manifest symptoms will be brought straight to the hospital. In other words, only those persons without symptoms or manifestations shall undergo the mandatory 14 day quarantine,” he said.
The DOH as well as the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) earlier assured that all precautionary measures are in place to ensure the safety and protection of residents in Capas, Tarlac.
The health department will be in charge of the management of the entire quarantine process for the repatriated Filipinos from Wuhan, a city in central China province of Hubei.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said all DOH hospitals in the region will be in charge of the deployment of medical teams to the quarantine area.
Upon completion of the 14-day quarantine period, the discharge of the repatriated OFWs shall be facilitated by the Overseas Workers Welfare Authority in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs.