The government is considering developing some facilities in Visayas and Mindanao as potential quarantine sites for the next batches of Filipino repatriates from countries hit by the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

Nograles said the plan was pitched, as the government readies itself for the possible “worst-case scenario,” considering that COVID-19 cases continue to increase worldwide.

“So we’ve identified several potential sites for quarantine sa Visayas and Mindanao. Again, these are all just in preparation for the worst-case scenario. It’s better prepared and that we’re prepared for any eventuality,” the Palace official said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

All Filipinos who returned home from COVID-19 hit countries have been quarantined at the New Clark City’s Athlete Village in Capas, Tarlac.

Over 400 Filipinos who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan are currently undergoing the prescribed 14-day quarantine period. Three of the repatriates from the Diamond Princess were admitted to a public hospital in Pampanga after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Nose and throat swabs from the three, who have coughs and colds, have already been sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for testing.

Nograles said the government is also seeking to tap the rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija as a quarantine site for overseas Filipinos who wish to come home amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We’re also looking at Fort Magsaysay because that was the initial quarantine facility that we’re looking at before going to Athletes Village. So, if in case we need to repatriate more of our countrymen from other countries including Macau, Fort Magsaysay is something that we’re looking,” he said.

At present, more than 3,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported outside China.

The Philippines has confirmed three cases of COVID-19, involving three Chinese nationals from the Wuhan City in China — the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.

There is no existing case of new coronavirus in the Philippines, since one of the three COVID-19 patients died, while the remaining two already recovered from the disease.


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