(Eagle News) — Thirty (30) Filipinos from Wuhan City, the ground zero of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease (2019-nCoV ARD), have been flown to the country, arriving at the Clark Air Base on Sunday, Feb. 9, through the efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The repatriated Filipinos included 29 adults and one infant. They were onboard the chartered flight which landed at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Air Base.
The voluntary repatriation of Filipinos trapped in Wuhan City and other parts of China affected by the coronavirus was done as the cases continued to rise in mainland China which are now more than 37,200. The total deaths worldwide from the virus has reached 813 as of Sunday morning, Feb. 9.
“Together with the repatriates were a 10-member team from the Philippines which included two members from the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai, three members from the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA), and five medical team members from the Department of Health (DOH),” a DFA statement on the repatriation said.
“Upon their arrival, the Filipinos were safely and swiftly transferred from the plane into their dedicated buses, and brought to the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City in Tarlac which will be their home for the 14-day quarantine period,” it added.
It was on Jan. 28, that the DFA made the initial call for the repatriation of Filipino nationals in China.
“This past week, two representatives from the Consulate General in Shanghai had to hurdle several border provinces’ clearances along their arduous two-day land travel to Wuhan City to coordinate with the Filipino community and the Foreign Affairs Office in Hubei Province,” the DFA said.
A team from the DFA main office in Manila flew to Wuhan City on Saturday night to ensure the safe return of the Filipinos.
There are around 300 Filipinos in Hubei province which was hard-hit by the novel coronavirus that had so far spread to 27 other countries.
The repatriation efforts were facilitated by the Philippine Embassy in Beijing and the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai, the Foreign Service Post with jurisdiction over Wuhan city in Hubei province.
The Embassy and the Consuate liaised with Chinese authorities to facilitate the operation, the DFA said.