Brushing aside fears of contracting the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus (nCov-ARD), Philippine authorities on Sunday morning welcomed 30 Filipinos who were repatriated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the disease that claimed the lives of more than 800 people.
Only 30 Filipinos out of the expected 45 who volunteered to return home made it aboard the Royal Air chartered flight that landed past six in the morning at the Clark International Airport on Sunday. The airplane, however, did not use the tube of the Clark airport and proceeded at the tarmac of the Philippine Air Force’s Haribon Hangar.
The repatriated Filipinos aboard the mercy flight which included a child were assisted by personnel of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Health all the way from Wuhan, China. They consisted of the eight-member Health Emergency Response Team (HERT) from the DFA and DOH.
JUST IN | The plane carrying the first batch of Filipino repatriates from Wuhan City has arrived in PH. The repats, flight crew, and DFA-DOH team accompanying them will undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine at New Clark City’s Athletes’ Village in Tarlac. ?: @DFAPHL pic.twitter.com/nMzST4nami— Phil News Agency (@pnagovph) February 8, 2020
The Royal Air flight that fetched the 30 Filipinos left Clark airport for China on Saturday around 10pm.
14-day quarantine at NCC
Government authorities said the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac will be finally used for their 14-day quarantine period amid the earlier opposition of the Capas Municipality to the use of the sports facility.
The Pampanga provincial government had provided buses that will take the Filipino repatriated to the Athlete’s Village. The Royal Air crew will also be quarantined at the NCC.
Government authorities who welcomed the Filipino repatriates at the PAF hangar had been wearing protective equipment.
DOH Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo said one room will be assigned for each repatriate, except for families, especially those with children, who can all stay in one room.
While in quarantine, the Filipino repatriates will be allowed to call their relatives.
Bayugo said a mental health team will also attend to the mental wellness of the repatriated Filipinos three days into the quarantine period.
He said another charter flight will repatriate more Filipinos from Wuhan who were not included in the first batch of the mercy flight.
Chinese authorities are still processing the exit documents of the remaining Filipinos some of whom had to settle their immigration status.
Chinese authorities will not allow foreign nationals to leave China without a clean bill of health. It was presumed that all 30 Filipinos who arrived at Clark are in the pink of health but they will still undergo a 14-day observation period.