Flying out from virus epicenter: DFA preps OFWs in China for repatriation
The repatriation team of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is now in Wuhan finalizing preparations to bring home this weekend overseas Filipinos from hubei, China.
“Today we already have our DFA team inside Wuhan City for the repatriation of our OFWs. They are on the ground and they’re taking the risk,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Brigido Dulay said in a briefing on Thursday.
Personnel of the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai held a consultation meeting with members of the Filipino community in Wuhan, as well as the Foreign Affairs Office in Hubei province to discuss details of the repatriation.
As of Thursday, a total of 45 Filipinos are confirmed for repatriation.
“They have signified their intention to join the repatriation. There are two aspects to this which we have to fix, one is the exit permits of our OFWs which we are working on now, of the group, there are four with problem on their immigration status,” Dulay said.
The OFWs would be checked for any symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) before leaving China.
“If they’re found with a fever or any symptom of the nCoV, they will be taken by the Chinese authorities to their hospitals, their facilities for their treatment and they will not be boarded,” Dulay said.
He added that the repatriation process is “not solely a Filipino dictated procedure and it must be coordinated with the Chinese authorities.”
The team is working on a February 8, 2020, departure from China.
“That means an early morning February 9 arrival, however, that is not a fixed date because of the compliance to the rules of the Chinese authorities on the ground .... If the Chinese government won’t be able to give their papers, they will be on the next batch if there is any, and if their immigration status has no problem and is updated, they will be brought to the plane,” he said.
Upon arrival in the Philippines, the OFWs will be brought to the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, where they will be subjected to 14-day mandatory quarantine.
On January 28, 2020, the DFA initiated the call to repatriate workers from Hubei—the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV.
Filipinos in China were given until February 5 to take advantage of the government-provided service.