Sunday, June 20, 2021

Repatriation of Filipinos in Hubei begins

(Photo taken from Foreign Affairs Secretary Undersecretary Brigido Dulay's Twitter)

FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has directed the Philippine consulate in Shanghai, China to immediately start processing Filipinos in Hubei province who wish to be repatriated.

In a Twitter post Tuesday night, January 28, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said two private charter airlines were on standby to fly to Hubei to bring the Filipinos home once they are cleared by Chinese authorities.

Between 30 and 50 Filipinos in Hubei have expressed their desire to be repatriated as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continued to spread. As of Tuesday, this highly contagious coronavirus strain has killed 106 people and infected thousands of others.

Wuhan City, the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV outbreak, is in Hubei in central China.

Returning Filipinos from China will be placed under quarantine for 14 days, the estimated incubation period of the pneumonia-causing disease.

Locsin, in a separate tweet, asked Dulay whether the quarantine facilities were ready. Dulay said the quarantine plan is based on the Department of Health (DOH) protocol.

The repatriation of Filipinos in Hubei was among the recommendations approved by the Inter-agency Task Force on the 2019-nCoV during its meeting Tuesday morning.

The task force also resolved to ensure continuous support to Filipinos in China by providing accurate and timely health information.

Thirdly, the task force proposed the suspension of the issuance of Philippine visas to travelers from Hubei.

The Bureau of Immigration subsequently ordered the suspension of "visa upon arrival" or VUA issuance to Chinese nationals.

Finally, the task force recommended the issuance of travel advisories discouraging non-essential travel of Filipinos to China.

The task force is composed of the DOH, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Justice, Department of Labor and Employment, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Civil Aeronautics Board and Philippine Coast Guard. (SunStar Philippines)


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