Quarantine facility sparks fear in Barangay Taptap

RESIDENTS of Barangay Taptap, Cebu City, expressed fears over the City’s designation of a temporary quarantine facility in their mountain village for those being monitored for symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The residents expressed their concerns in a meeting with Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.

The mayor visited Taptap to inspect the Cebu City Resource Management and Development Center (Cremdec) building, the designated quarantine facility for Cebu City residents coming in from China, epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, who cannot stay in their homes for home-quarantine because of the presence of pregnant women, senior citizens, children below 10 years old or other immunocompromised persons.

The residents expressed fears that the persons under monitoring (PUMs) might end up spreading the deadly virus in the barangay if they were infected by it in China.

“In the first place, we should have been informed that you will be putting up a quarantine facility here,” Joanne Malazarte, a resident, said in Cebuano.

“Please assure us that these people will not roam around our barangay because most of the people here are scared,” she added.

In response, Labella said the City Government will distribute 1,000 protective masks to Barangay Taptap residents.

The masks are part of 20,500 surgical masks donated by the Philippine Chee Kung Tong Chinese Free Mason Inc.

Labella also said the Cremdec facility will be regularly cleaned.

He assured once a PUM manifests any signs of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the person will be immediately brought to a hospital.

The mayor then promised the residents he would give their barangay a mini bus as a way of thanking them for their understanding.

For her part, Cebu City Health Officer Daisy Villa explained that the facility was just being prepared for now and the PUMs were not yet in the building.

Villa said the PUMs will only be allowed to roam around the three-storey facility but not outside. City Health workers and Cebu City Police Office personnel will secure the area.

The City Government is allocating P1,200 for each PUM daily to cover the cost of three meals and two snacks.

Filipino repatriates

Meanwhile, some 460 to 480 Filipinos aboard the virus-hit cruise ship mv Diamond Princess docked in Japan will arrive in the Philippines on Sunday, a day after the first set of repatriates from Wuhan, China complete their 14-day quarantine at The Athlete’s Village in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

This was revealed by Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire in a press briefing in Manila Friday, Feb. 21, where she also said they were now verifying a report that the number of Filipinos testing positive for the virus on the ship had risen to 52 from 44 the day before.

She said one of the Filipinos who had tested positive there had already recovered.

According to the Associated Press, at least 634 of the 3,200 people on the ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, have Covid-19. Only those who test negative for the virus and show no symptoms of the disease will be repatriated.

This new set of repatriates will also be quarantined at The Athlete’s Village. If any of them shows symptoms of the disease, he will be brought to any one of the 16 referral hospitals identified for the purpose.

As of 12 p.m. Friday, the DOH said 139 of the patients under investigation (PUIs) for Covid-19 in the Philippines were currently admitted, of which 106 were in the National Capital Region, eight in the Cordillera Administrative Region and five in Central Visayas.

PUIs are those with travel history to China, or close contact with someone found positive for the virus, who have symptoms of respiratory illness.

Globally, at least 75,748 people have contracted the disease, 74,675 of them in China. (JJL, PAC, CTL)


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