Palace assures Capas residents protocols are in place against nCoV spread
In this file photo from April 2019, the stadium at New Clark City is seen from Barangay Aranguran in Capas, Tarlac. Toledo IV

Palace assures Capas residents protocols are in place against nCoV spread

Alexis Romero ( - February 9, 2020 - 6:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Sunday assured the local government of Capas, Tarlac that measures are in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the wake of concerns over using the Athletes' Village in New Clark City a quarantine area.

The Capas town council is planning to ask the court to stop the use of the NCC as quarantine facility, saying local workers would be highly susceptible to contract and transmit the virus because they would be working with persons being investigated for nCoV.

The housekeeping and utility workers of the Athletes' Village came from various Capas villages, the local town council noted.

But Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said local governments cannot stop the plan to billet Filipino workers from Hubei province — the origin and epicenter of the virus — in the Athletes’ Village.

"It's natural (for local governments to react that way) but first, the place belongs to the national government so the local governments do not have a say on that," Panelo said in a radio interview.  

"Second, all protocols are being implemented so they are not in danger. Those who arrived have been isolated," he added.

Capas councilors have also claimed that the stigma that comes with the nCoV would  the intention of attracting investors to the NCC.

Town residents have suggested that the government designate a drug rehabilitation center at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija as quarantine site. Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali is also opposed to the conversion of the drug rehabilitation center into a quarantine center.

Panelo said the Department of Health is looking after the 30 Filipinos who arrived from Hubei on Sunday morning.

"Everything is ready. They were handled by the DOH. It will be OK," he said.

Economic impact

Panelo admitted that the president is worried about the impact of the nCoV on the country's economy and tourism but maintained that measures are being done to mitigate them.

"Every president will be bothered everytime the economy is affected. That's why we are finding ways (to address the issue)," the Palace spokesman said.

"Everyone in the world is affected...  What we can do is to stop the spread of the disease."

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia previously said the nCoV would slash less than a percentage point or 0.7 percent off the Philippines' gross domestic product if it remains for the entire year. The reduction would be about 0.06 percent if the nCoV persists for a month while the impact would be about 0.3 percent if it remains until June, Pernia added.

Asked whether Duterte shares US President Donald Trump's optimism that China would be successful in combating the nCoV, Panelo replied: "All of us should hope and pray that we can discover (the cure) that can stop this disease."

Panelo also clarified that patients being investigated for nCoV won't be charged if they are admitted to government hospitals. There have been claims that the government only shoulders the diagnostic tests for nCoV but not the other hospital fees.

"Why would they (patients) shoulder (the costs)? They are in a government (hospital)," the Palace spokesman said.

"If they are in a private (institution),  they would really have to spend money but if they are in a government (hospital), I don't think they would," he added.

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