The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have confirmed it now has a team in Wuhan City in China’s Hubei province working on the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are stuck in ground zero of the deadly novel coronavirus.
“We already have our DFA team inside. They have entered Wuhan City today,” Undersecretary Brigido Dulay, of the DFA’s Civilian Security and Consular Concerns, said in a press briefing on Thursday, February 06.
Dulay said the DFA team is now coordinating with authorities in China as well as the Filipino community in Wuhan for the repatriation procedure.
“I have to give credit to our people. They are on the ground and they are taking the risk. But they have taken all the task and I salute them for doing that,” he said.
A total of 45 OFWs are “ready to go,” according to Dulay. He said the OFWs are expected to leave China on Saturday and will arrive in the Philippines on early Sunday morning.
Dulay also explained that permits and clearances will be secured first from China before repatriating the overseas workers.
“I just like to emphasize that repatriation is not solely a Philippine-dictated procedure. It entails coordination with the Chinese authorities. It requires our compliance of the Chinese rules on the containment of infectious diseases,” he said.
There are a total of 178 PUIs in the Philippines as of 12 noon Thursday. Forty-eight of the patients have tested been negative for the virus although only 16 have been discharged so far.
The virus has infected a total of 28,353 individuals globally as of Thursday evening, with more than 28,000 in China where it was first detected. There have been 565 deaths so far, all recorded in China except one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong. (Source: INQUIRER.net)