Ebola watch continues; more quarantine facilities needed
MANILA, Philippines—With the 21-DAY quarantine for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other travelers from Ebola-stricken countries continuing, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday it was looking for other places to hold them temporarily.
DOH spokesperson Lyndon Lee Suy said the department was considering putting up quarantine facilities in Luzon and the Visayas, preferably near airports.
“There are areas currently being surveyed as possible quarantine areas, including Fort Magsaysay, and we welcome such a generous offer from the local government,” Lee Suy told reporters in an interview.
Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali had proposed that a portion of the sprawling military camp in the province be turned into a quarantine facility.
In the meantime, Lee Suy said, arriving passengers from the Ebola-stricken West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea would continue to be held for 21 days in the former administration building of Nayong Pilipino in Pasay City.
“For now, we will continue to use that one near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” he said.
Lee Suy said the government had never stopped imposing the 21-day quarantine on all passengers arriving from Ebola-afflicted countries.
“There was no letup in screening passengers from those countries even if the people had lost interest in the issue the past few months,” he said.
On Monday, the DOH announced that arriving passengers from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea would continue to be quarantined for 21 days on the recommendation of six Filipino doctors who flew to those countries to assess the condition of OFWs.
The doctors, who comprised the DOH’s Ebola rapid response team, returned home on Feb. 3 after a two-month stay in the three West African countries.
The infectious disease experts recommended that the quarantine protocol and the deployment ban on OFWs to the three countries be continued after they found that the healthcare systems in those countries had not been restored following their collapse due to the outbreak of the deadly virus.
World Health Organization records showed that the Ebola outbreak, the biggest in history, has claimed 9,004 lives out of the 22,525 persons who were infected in West Africa.
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