MANILA, Philippines, February 12 ------ The government is ready to repatriate Filipino workers in countries affected by the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (nCoV) if the public health emergency worsens, President Duterte said. Duterte said Filipinos in areas with confirmed nCoV cases have nowhere else to run if the number of deaths increases and they are driven away by their host countries. “When it comes to a pandemic level, then there is no way that we can shirk from the trouble of bringing them home. We have to bring them home. But I said impose the rules and tell them to strictly follow it,” Duterte said during a gathering of local executives in Pasay City last Monday.
“We will go and marshal all available carriers there by ship or by air. We will get them. And of course there will always be precautions. The caveat there is do not break the rules,” he added. There are more than 40,000 confirmed cases of nCoV worldwide, most of them in China. The virus has affected 24 countries and has killed more than 1,000 people. Duterte said the government has enough funds to address the impact of nCoV. He also urged the public to keep their faith in the government as it works to contain the virus.
“If it goes out of hand, do not worry. (Finance Secretary Carlos) Dominguez has the money,” he said. “The national government remains to be on top of the threat of the coronavirus. We are prepared to handle this public health emergency in case the worst scenario happens,” he added. Duterte said he is ready to use the military and the police to maintain order in the event that the virus spreads in the Philippines.