POGO workers in Parañaque subject to monitoring amid coronavirus scare – official

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 4)— The local government of Parañaque— where several Philippine offshore gaming operators are located— will ramp up its monitoring measures for service workers amid the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) scare in the region.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said local authorities will check on Chinese POGO workers manifesting flu-like symptoms—especially those with history of travel to Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus’ outbreak.

“They already identified a certain place, condominium. They'll go there; they'll get a check, quarantine if kailangan talaga, kung meron bang (it is needed, if there are) reports,” Garcia told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Tuesday.

“What we're talking about is ano bang kumpanya na maraming Chinese na galing doon... kaya sila 'yung people na imo-monitor natin kasi galing sila doon,” he added.

[Translation: What we’re talking about are the companies which have many Chinese workers from the area. They will be the ones monitored if they came from there.]

Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez meanwhile said there are no suspected coronavirus cases in the city, which hosts 19 POGO offices with 6,000 to 7,000 workers.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) earlier directed gaming operators in the country to impose a 10-day quarantine on employees who will be coming from countries affected by the respiratory illness. PAGCOR said the order covers both newly-hired and returning POGO workers.

It's not clear why PAGCOR is imposing only a 10-day quarantine. Health authorities have ordered a mandatory 14-day quarantine for returning Filipinos and holders of permanent resident visa with history of travel to China.

Police to bring suspected patients to health centers?

The country's police force will also have a hand at the government's campaign against the coronavirus, Garcia noted.

The MMDA general manager said the police can "forcibly bring" patients to hospitals-- when they refuse to seek medical treatment.

"If you rememeber sa Taal, 'diba nagkaroon ng evacuation 'yan? Ayaw umalis ng mga tao, forced evacuation sila. Just the same," Garcia said.

[Translation: If you remember what happened in the Taal Volcano eruption, there was an evacuation, right? If the people do not want to leave, they will be force evacuated. Just the same.]

"Ayaw mo, kailangan bitbitin palabas diyan ng bahay mo, para mapa-check ka lang, gagawin natin 'yan," he added.

[Translation: If the patient does not want to, if he or she is needed to be escorted out of the house just to have a checkup, then we will do it.]

The Philippine National Police, for its part, has recently activiated its health team to assist government officials in combating the spread of the virus.

The novel coronavirus, which has spread to at least 27 countries and territories outside China, has left over 400 people dead in its wake. There are now over 24,000 cases listed globally, with the first death outside mainland China reported in the Philippines, and a second death recorded Tuesday in Hong Kong.

At least 105 people have been placed under observation by Philippine health officials for suspected coronavirus infection, 67 of whom are currently hospitalized.