8 more Filipino crew of Japanese cruise ship catch novel coronavirus

JC Gotinga

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8 more Filipino crew of Japanese cruise ship catch novel coronavirus


A total of 35 Filipinos working on the ship have caught the virus

MANILA, Philippines – Eight more Filipinos working on the Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess have contracted the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected Filipino crew members to 35, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday, February 18.

On Sunday, February 16, 27 Filipinos were reported as positive for COVID-19, the term for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“The Filipinos who tested positive for COVID-19 were immediately transferred to Japanese hospitals and are now undergoing treatment. The (Philippine Embassy in Japan) constantly communicates with all patients currently confined in Japanese hospitals to ensure their well-being and to provide assistance,” the DFA said in a statement.

The Japanese government is set to announce on Tuesday the disembarkation procedures as the ship’s quarantine period ends.

“The Embassy is coordinating with all relevant Philippine and Japanese government agencies and is meeting with senior management representatives of Princess Cruises to ensure an orderly and safe repatriation of Filipinos once they clear the Japanese quarantine requirements,” the DFA said.

All Filipino passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess who wish to be repatriated will be accommodated by the government, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday.

“The DOH will follow strict infection control and quarantine procedures to ensure the safety of our repatriates and health workers who will man the quarantine facility,” the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases said in a statement.

There were a total of 538 Filipinos onboard the Diamond Princess. One of them became the first Filipino case of COVID-19. The ship has been on quarantine at the port of Yokahama since February 5.

On Monday, the DFA said the government sent “care packages” containing toiletries and other supplies to the Filipinos on the cruise ship.

As of Monday evening, Philippine health officials had monitored a total of 521 patients for the novel coronavirus. Only 171 of them remained at hospitals.

The country has had 3 confirmed cases of infection, all of whom were Chinese tourists. There have not been any new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines since February 5.

In China, more than 1,800 people have died of COVID-19. The virus has sickened more than 72,300. – Rappler.com

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.