163 Filipino Repatriates from Macau Arrive in PH

On Saturday, 163 Filipinos who had been evacuated from Macau arrived in the Philippines through a chartered flight, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The plane carrying the Filipinos — composed of tourists, undocumented workers, and beneficiaries of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) — landed in Manila at 4:30 p.m.

163 Filipino Repatriates from Macau Arrive in PH
Credits: DFA/Twitter

163 Filipinos Repatriates from Macau Return Home to the Philippines

In a press conference, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the repatriates would be assessed on landing, as shared in a report by GMA News.

In a statement shared by the DFA, it said: “Touch down! The chartered flight arranged by the Philippine Government carrying a total of 163 Filipinos from Macau has now landed in Manila. Welcome home, mga kababayan!

According to Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez, five registered passengers failed to board for “various reasons” while another passenger was able to join late.

According to the report, those with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms would be brought to referral facilities while those with no symptoms would be advised to self-quarantine.

The repatriates, who will be treated as persons under monitoring (PUMs), will undergo home quarantine.

During a press conference on Saturday, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that they will identify who among the repatriates have symptoms of the virus. And those who will report symptoms will be assisted by medical professionals on site, where an ambulance will be waiting for them. They will be transported to referral facilities.

Meanwhile, those who won’t exhibit any signs of infection will be advised to go on home quarantine.      

According to the DOH, PUMs are those who came from China and its Special Administrative Regions but show no respiratory symptoms.

Once other processes that involve OWWA and the DFA are finished, the repatriates will be allowed to go home.

Vergeire explained: “When they get home, there is this monitoring scheme kung saan katulong naman natin ang ating local government units and, of course, OWWA, para ipatupad po natin at masiguro natin na magqua-quarantine itong ating mga kababayan.”

Prior to their chartered flight back to Manila, the repatriates were assisted by officials from the DFA-Philippine Consulate General in Macau.

The Philippine Consulate General in Macau coordinated with the Macau government since February to arrange for the said repatriation flight.

During this period, the Filipinos’ needs have been attended to by the Consulate, authorities said.

For its part, the DFA together with the Department of Health reassured the public that all Filipinos who will disembark will be asymptomatic for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Since the virus broke out late January, the government had enforced a travel ban on China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has announced that it has a total of six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, prompting the DOH to raise a Code Red alert level. 

Commenting on this update, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo noted: “It (state of public health emergency) has been declared…after considering all critical factors with the aim of safeguarding the health of the Filipino people.” 

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