MANILA — Some two chartered flights are on standby to evacuate Filipinos from Hubei province who wish to return home amid the 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said the Philippine government is coordinating with Chinese authorities on the ground for clearance.
"Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. directed our consulate in Shanghai, China to immediately start processing Filipinos in Hubei province who wish to be repatriated to the Philippines," Dulay said on his official Twitter account.
He said two private charter airlines are on standby to fly to Hubei to bring Filipinos back home upon clearance by Chinese authorities.
The 2019-nCoV was believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan in Hubei.
Based on a resolution issued by a Department of Health-led interagency group on 2019-nCoV, the repatriates will be subjected to 14 days of mandatory quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines.
There is no timeline yet as to when the repatriation will begin, which is subject to China's rules on disease containment, including immigration clearance and quarantine process, among others.
"We can’t give a definite timeline as all movements in and out of Hubei have to be coordinated with Chinese authorities on the ground, based on their disease control protocols and immigration rules," Dulay said in a text message.
In a separate statement, he said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered to assist Filipinos and other foreign nationals with expired/expiring visas through their respective embassies and consulates.
Filipinos who want to avail of the special flights from Hubei to the Philippines are advised to contact the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai at (+86-21) 6281-8020, (+86) 1391 747-7112 or via email at [email protected] / [email protected]
Meanwhile, Filipinos who wish to stay in China are advised to heed advisories of local health authorities and cooperate with efforts to quell the further spread of 2019-nCoV.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research Ernesto Abella echoed calls from the Chinese government on foreigners, including Filipinos to seek immediate medical assistance when necessary.
During emergency situations, Filipinos in Hubei may contact, in addition to the Embassy details, any of the two 24-hour hotlines established by the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) at 86-27-8712-2256 and +86-27-8781-1173.
The MFA hotlines can also be contacted should Filipinos need assistance, supplies, and other needs. (PNA)