DFA team enters coronavirus ground zero in Wuhan to aid OFWs
MANILA, Philippines — A team from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is now in Wuhan City in China’s Hubei province to work on the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who remain in the ground zero of the deadly novel coronavirus.
“We already have our DFA team inside. They have entered Wuhan City today,” Undersecretary Brigido Dulay, of the DFA’s Civilian Security and Consular Concerns, said in a press briefing on Thursday.
Dulay said the DFA team is now coordinating with authorities in China as well as to the Filipino community in Wuhan for the repatriation procedure.
“I have to give credit to our people. They are on the ground and they are taking the risk. But they have taken all the task and I salute them for doing that,” he said.
A total of 45 OFWs are “ready to go,” according to Dulay. He said the OFWs are expected to leave China on Saturday and will arrive in the Philippines on early Sunday morning.
He also explained that permits and clearances should be secured first from China before repatriating the overseas workers.
“I just like to emphasize that repatriation is not solely a Philippine-dictated procedure. It entails coordination with the Chinese authorities. It requires our compliance of the Chinese rules on the containment of infectious diseases,” he said.
There are a total of 178 PUIs here in the Philippines as of 12 noon Thursday. Forty-eight of these patients have tested negative for the virus although only 16 have been discharged so far.
The virus has infected a total of 28,256 individuals globally as of Thursday morning, with more than 28,000 in China where it was first detected. There have been 563 deaths so far, all recorded in China except one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong.
Edited by JPV
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