No plans yet to evacuate Pinoys in China – Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo says the government has no plans yet of repatriating Filipinos in the Chinese city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak that China said has already claimed 81 lives as of Monday. GMA PHOTO
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. GMA PHOTO

MANILA – The Malacañang said on Sunday that there are no plans yet of evacuating Filipinos based in Wuhan City, China, which is the epicenter of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a radio interview that the government cannot force Filipinos in the area to come back to the Philippines, given their employment.
Wala tayong narinig na mayroong ganong patakaran si Presidente,” Panelo said. “‘Yung Filipino na nasa ibang bansa, they are working there. If they feel that they are safe, hindi mo mapapaalis ‘yun don, kasi livelihood nila ‘yun.”
As of Sunday, 56 people have been confirmed dead, while close to 2,000 have fallen ill across China due to the new coronavirus strain.
Siyempre, ‘yung lugar na pinagtratrabahuan nila, mayroon ding ginagawa ang mga authority doon para hindi kumalat,” Panelo said. “Ang payo natin doon eh kung ano ‘yung mga precaution na ibinibigay ng mga local authorities, gagawin nila para hindi sila magkasakit.”
Department of Health (DOH) secretary Francisco Duque, meanwhile, has called on the media to avoid the spread of false information about the said coronavirus.
“I call upon the responsible media practitioners in our midst that let’s not be used by unscrupulous groups whose agenda is to propagate ‘info-demic’,” Duque said in a media briefing at the Palace on Monday.
“Info-demic means the spread of false or baseless pieces of information. Let’s not be a party to such a propagation, because, otherwise, this problem, this misinformation can be more viral than the virus that we all are guarding against,” he added.
The coronavirus outbreak, which was first identified in December, has caused alarm because it is still too early to know how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. And because it is new, humans have not been able to build any immunity against it.
China has instituted an “unprecedented” lockdown in some cities with millions of population in an attempt to curb the spread of the illness. Meanwhile, there are still zero cases of coronavirus in the country, Duque said./PN

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