DILG thanks Capas for allowing quarantine site
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya assured the residents of Capas that all measures are in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (nCoV), which has so far affected more than 37,000 people worldwide.
AFP/Wakil Kohsar

DILG thanks Capas for allowing quarantine site

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday thanked officials of Capas, Tarlac for withdrawing their opposition to the use of the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City (NCC) as quarantine site for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) repatriated from China.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya assured the residents of Capas that all measures are in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (nCoV), which has so far affected more than 37,000 people worldwide.

“The DILG welcomes the decision of the local government of Capas, Tarlac, because they placed the national interest above and beyond the objections of some of their constituents. We thank them for withdrawing their objections on the use of the Athletes’ Village in the New Clark City as quarantine site,” Malaya said at a press briefing in Malacañang.

“Strict procedures are being implemented by the DOH and the movements of the repatriates are limited to the quarantine building only and it’s secured 24/7 by the DOH,” Malaya said, referring to the Department of Health.

Malaya said Capas residents would not be in contact with the repatriates as only DOH personnel have access to the quarantine building. 

“And even if they have access, which they don’t, the risks are nil because the repatriates are there only as a precautionary measure. Again, the people of Capas have nothing to worry about and it is times like this that we need to come together as a people,” he said.

The Capas town council planned to go to court to prevent the use of the NCC as quarantine facility, saying local workers will be vulnerable to the virus as they will be interacting with persons being monitored for nCoV.

Town officials changed their stance on Sunday and welcomed the OFWs from Wuhan, the city in China where the nCoV originated. 

“We in Capas offer our home, our sympathy and prayers for the health of our fellow Filipinos and we hope there will already be a permanent solution to the nCoV,” Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan said in a statement.

Catacutan said his opposition to the use of the Athletes’ Village as quarantine center stemmed from his lack of information. 

He donated personal hygiene items such as face masks and bottles of alcohol for the OFWs and provided meals for the 80 police officers securing the NCC.

Catacutan said he would provide such assistance until the end of the quarantine period.

The OFWs are supposed to stay in their rooms all the time, except when meals are served in a common dining area.

Catacutan urged doctors and nurses attending to the OFWs to also address the health concerns of nearby communities.

He ordered the Capas Bahay Pagbabago rehabilitation center opened for use of police personnel spending their rest hours in a covered court in Barangay Cristo Rey.

Gov. Susan Yap expressed support for the use as quarantine of the Athletes’ Village, Yap, however, lamented what she described as the failure of the DOH to identify a permanent quarantine area in case of a pandemic.

She said that quarantine operations were done by the government during the SARS outbreak as well as for Filipino soldiers who returned home from Ebola-stricken Liberia in the past years.

Yap ordered the distribution of face masks and alcohol sanitizers to residents of Sitio Kamatis, located 300 meters away from the Athletes’ Village.

Tarlac police chief Col. David Poklay said he and his men have been taking orders from the DOH for peace and order in the village.

Residents, however, remained apprehensive for their health. – With Ding Cervantes

NEW CLARK CITY QUARANTINE SITE
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