POGO workers feared to carry China virus
Many Chinese workers of various POGOs have practically invaded newly built but illegal commercial buildings and rented homes in Multinational Village,” said Mel Marquez, spokesman for the Concerned Homeowners of Multinational Village.
Tory Ho/AFP/File
POGO workers feared to carry China virus
Ralph Edwin Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A village in Parañaque City yesterday raised concern over the possible spread of a viral illness from China through thousands of Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) employees in the country.

“Many Chinese workers of various POGOs have practically invaded newly built but illegal commercial buildings and rented homes in Multinational Village,” said Mel Marquez, spokesman for the Concerned Homeowners of Multinational Village.

He said the new strain of coronavirus “is serious and with the quick turnover of thousands of POGO workers in the village,” homeowners are concerned that residents may be exposed to the illness, which has infected at least 440 worldwide and left nine dead.

“Parañaque, which plays host to Chinese workers, must look for precautionary measures, especially because of the presence of Chinese workers in residential areas like subdivisions,” Marquez said.

He said a rented house or illegal building in Parañaque could accommodate at least 50 Chinese workers each.

Marquez earlier said the increase in the number of houses and buildings used by POGOs has affected the supply of water and electricity in the village.

Some residents of Multinational Village were already wearing face masks following the ashfall emitted by Taal Volcano. 

City administrator Fernando Soriano, in a text message to The STAR, said the city government is adopting the preventive measures prescribed by the national government.

“Considering that we have many Chinese nationals in Parañaque and our proximity to the airport, a massive dissemination campaign for its prevention is also our core program through our city health office and personnel,” he said. 

Soriano added that the city goverment is “considering” distributing free face masks.

There are no confirmed cases of infection by the 2019-nCoV or the novel coronavirus in the country so far, the Department of Health said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Pasay City government denied social media posts alleging that the Pasay General Hospital was “quarantined” due to a case of 2019-nCoV infection.

In Manila, organizers of the Chinese New Year festivities in Binondo on Jan. 25 warned the public to wear masks when going to public places as protection against the virus and avoid going out if they feel sick.

Barangay 297 chairman Johnny Sy said they expect people to troop to malls and other places where there are activities to welcome the Chinese New Year, so they started distributing masks.

Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday started distributing face masks in line with precautionary measures set up by the city government. – With Rey Galupo              

MEL MARQUEZ POGO'S
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