The Duterte administration admits that the lockdown of Wuhan City in China will make the repatriation of Filipinos difficult.
Along with the lockdown are the travel restrictions that the Chinese authorities are implementing in Wuhan City – the epicenter of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – wherein the government controls the entry and exit of people from Hubei province.
“Mahirap din yung repatriation, kasi ang Chinese government, di nila pinapaalis ang mga tao doon. Mayroon na nga silang stopping certain flights. […] even if we want to repatriate them, if there is travel restriction there, what can we do?,” said Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sec. Salvador Panelo.
The official added that the Philippine government is being prudent in coming up with a decision regarding the matter to avoid possible spread of the disease.
But should there be any other possible means, Panelo said, the government is willing to repatriate the Filipinos in Wuhan City.
“If we can bring them here, then we can bring them here. We’ll have to do some protocols to make sure that if they have the disease, they will not spread them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Panelo said that if it were up to the Palace, it is no longer allowing any government official to travel to China due to the increasing number of cases of the deadly 2019-nCoV.
“Eh kung pagpunta mo doon you will be opening yourself to the virus, bakit ka pa pupunta roon? And those who are intending to go there should think of their own safety,” Panelo said.