Filipinos in Wuhan worry over virus, ponder coming home: OFW

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2020 01:18 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2020 01:24 PM

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Some Filipinos working in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the global epicenter of a new coronavirus outbreak, have expressed desire to come home, a community member said Monday, as officials in Manila discussed evacuation plans.

Face masks have ran out in some stores in Wuhan, most of entertainment centers and malls are closed, and authorities regularly check locals for signs of fever and flu, said Chai Roxas, a Filipina assistant manager at a trading firm there. 

"Sumasang-ayon ako na i-evacuate (I am for evacuation)," she told DZMM. 

"Although we are safe here and calm kasi we have stocks naman for food and medicine, alam mo iyong pakiramdam ng hindi namin alam kung anong mangyayari bukas makalwa o mga susunod na araw," she added. 

(Although we are safe here and calm because we have food and medicine stocks, we don't know what might happen in a day or two, or the next few days.) 

Authorities have barred travel to and from Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected before it spread across China and to a dozen other countries -- including the US, France and Australia.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 2,700 people and left 80 dead, despite the lockdown in Wuhan, home to 11 million people. 

There could be around 150 Filipinos in Wuhan, a normally bustling transport hub in central China home to a huge steel and auto industry, officials earlier said. 

Pictures uploaded to social media on Jan. 25, 2020 show medical staff attending to a patient, in Wuhan, China. Central Hospital of Wuhan/Weibo/Reuters

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said his agency would meet with the Department of Foreign Affairs later Monday to determine whether the government will repatriate Filipinos there. 

Filipinos who need assistance may reach the Consulate through its hotline (+852) 9155 4023, the DFA earlier said. With a report from Agence France-Presse 

DZMM, Jan. 27, 2020