Filipinos to be repatriated from China amid coronavirus spread arrive Saturday

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 5) — The first batch of Filipinos to be repatriated from China — where there is the highest number of novel coronavirus deaths and cases — is set to arrive in the country on Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday.

He said that the details of bringing home Filipinos from China amid the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak were discussed during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday night.

Panelo said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reported that the initial batch of returnees will arrive at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga. They will then be transported to Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija to keep them away from the general public. Those coming from areas with cases of 2019-nCoV are subjected to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

Forty-two Filipinos in China have expressed their desire to come home. They will be housed in the unused portion of the drug rehabilitation center inside the Army's Fort Magsaysay, which can accommodate 10,000 people.

Duque will be flying to the site on Wednesday to properly anticipate the needs of the people who will be brought there.

"The tentative plan is for them to be flown in to Clark and using of course a chartered flight. They will be transported to the Fort, but I don't know if there would be intermediate or station in between that. We are finetuning the plan," Duque told CNN Philippines.