Manila: The government is looking at a Philippines military base north of the capital as quarantine facility for people coming from areas with known novel coronavirus cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte said the government is looking at using the 10,000-bed, so-called ‘Mega Drug Rehabilitation’ facility inside Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija province, as quarantine facility for suspected carriers of 2019-nCoV Acute Respiratory Disease.

“I think the first building is vacant, not used,” Duterte said while also noting that Governor Aurelio Umali of Nueva Ecija had initially opposed the idea of putting up such a facility inside an area close to his constituents.

“But that building is inside a government reservation,” he said in a recent speech delivered at the Philippine Navy Headquarters in Manila.

“I will expropriate. I can take that building. In times of emergency, I can… I can always do that… It is confiscatory in nature. Then you make it a hospital. Bring in the equipment and you stay there inside the building where the egress and ingress is controlled,” he said.

Duterte also mentioned that the government could also take privately owned facilities for housing the patients.

Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Francisco Duque III inspected the site for the quarantine on Wednesday.

Among those who are expected to be quarantined are overseas Filipino workers coming from China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau.

It can be recalled that the World Health Organisation has recommended a 14-day quarantine for people coming from China before they can be vetted cleared from the 2019-nCoV ARD.

Incidentally, the“Mega Drug Rehabilitation Facility” was built in 2017 from funds from a Chinese philanthropist.

Second case

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed a third case of 2019-nCoV ARD, a 60-year-old female Chinese patient. The patient arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan, China, via Hong Kong on January 20, and travelled to Bohol thereafter.

“On January 22, the patient consulted a private hospital in Bohol after experiencing fever and coryza. A sample taken from the patient last January 24 tested negative. Upon recovery of the patient, she was discharged and was allowed to return to China via Cebu last January 31,” the DOH said.

“On February 3, DOH was notified by RITM that a sample taken earlier, January 23, tested positive for 2019-nCoV making her the third confirmed 2019-nCoV ARD in the Philippines,” DOH said.

Despite the discovery of the third case of coronavirus, the health department maintains that there had been no local transmission so far.