DFA to bring home Filipinos in Hubei starting next week
Medical staff in protective clothes are seen carrying a patient from an apartment suspected of having the virus in Wuhan, in Hubei province on January 30, 2020. The World Health Organization, which initially downplayed the severity of a disease that has now killed 170 nationwide, warned all governments to be "on alert" as it weighed whether to declare a global health emergency.
AFP/Hector Retamal

DFA to bring home Filipinos in Hubei starting next week

Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - January 31, 2020 - 11:08am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs is ready to repatriate Filipinos in Wuhan City and the rest of Hubei province amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

The DFA said it will prioritize Filipinos in Hubei province in the first batch of repatriates, which are expected to arrive by next week.

The repatriation of Filipinos in China will be subject to the country's rules on disease containment, including immigration clearances and quarantine process.

"Filipinos who wish to be included in the first batch should contact the Philippine Embassy in Beijing or the nearest Consulate General in their area by [February 3, 2020], Monday," the DFA said in an advisory.

Filipinos repatriated from China will undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine period upon arriving in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, has issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals from Hubei and other parts of the country where the disease has spread.

"It will last until the threat is over given that that the safety of our countrymen is foremost in the President’s mind," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement Friday.

Last week, China shut down public transport and closed a major airport in eight cities around Wuhan City in Hubei, where the virus originated.

The SARS-like virus first emerged in Wuhan, where a seafood market was identified as the center of the outbreak.

The World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency of international concern over the deadly virus as more than 7,700 people have been infected, 170 of which have died.

"Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. — with reports from AFP

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 22, 2021 - 2:09pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

January 22, 2021 - 2:09pm

The number of people taking their own lives in Japan rose for the first time in over a decade last year, as the pandemic reversed years of progress combatting a stubbornly high suicide rate.

Japan's health and welfare ministry said Friday that 20,919 people died by suicide in 2020 according to preliminary data, up 3.7 percent from the previous year. That compares with 3,460 deaths from coronavirus in the same period.

It marks the first year-on-year rise in suicides in more than a decade, with women and children in particular taking their lives at higher rates. — AFP

January 21, 2021 - 8:02am

The number of US COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday surpassed the country's toll of military fatalities in World War II, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

As of the evening, the tracker showed that 405,400 people have died from the disease caused by the new coronavirus in the United States.

The total number of combat and non-combat deaths in World War II was 405,399, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The figure is a stark reminder of the pandemic's cost as newly-elected President Joe Biden begins his term. — AFP

January 20, 2021 - 8:52pm

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 2,058,226 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources at 1100 GMT on Wednesday.

More than 96,144,670 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

These figures are based on daily tolls provided by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organisations as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain. —  AFP

January 20, 2021 - 6:15pm

Beijing health officials on Wednesday say two cases of COVID-19 found in the capital were the highly-transmissible UK variant of the virus, as five neighbourhoods were locked down in the south of the city.

The cases in Daxing district were "considered to be variants of the new coronavirus discovered in the UK", the head of the Beijing health authority Pang Xinghuo tells reporters. —  AFP

January 20, 2021 - 12:57pm

The UK coronavirus strain has been detected in at least 60 countries, the World Health Organization says Wednesday, 10 more than a week ago.

The South African variant, which like the UK strain is believed to be more infectious, has now been reported in 23 countries and territories, the WHO said in a statement. — AFP

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