444 Filipinos from Grand Princess cruise ship now back in PH

444 Filipinos from Grand Princess cruise ship now back in PH
The repatriates will be quarantined at the Athletes' Village in New Clark City for 14 days to check for possible novel coronavirus infection

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 444 Filipinos who were repatriated from the quarantined ship MV Grand Princess are now back in the Philippines.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the chartered flight carrying 438 crew members and 6 passengers from the cruise ship left the San Francisco International Airport at 9 pm Saturday, March 14 (Pacific Time) and arrived at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Airbase, Pampanga, at around 2:15 am Monday, March 16.

DFA said the disembarkation at Oakland Port in California started Saturday around noon.

“Upon disembarkation from the ship, the repatriates all underwent health screening by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which included thermal scanning and other diagnostics to test if they had symptoms of COVID-19,” the DFA said in a statement on Monday.

“As a matter of protocol, only those who were asymptomatic were allowed to board the buses that transferred them to San Francisco International Airport.”

Upon arrival at Clark Airbase, all 444 repatriates were brought to the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City for their 14-day quarantine period.

This is the latest batch of repatriates that the DFA brought home from areas affected by COVID-19. The DFA had also repatriated Filipinos from Hubei, China, where the novel coronavirus originated; from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan; and from Macau.

Meanwhile, 94 Filipinos onboard MV Grand Princess will remain in the US for now. Of this number, 78 are crew members who opted to be part of the ship’s minimum safe manning and minimum operational manning teams.

Thirteen have tested positive for COVID-19 and were put in health facilities in the US, said the DFA. The remaining 3 passengers are California residents who stayed behind.

As of this posting, the Philippines has at least 140 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 12 deaths. The virus has infected over 163,000 people and killed more than 6,000 in over 141 countries. – Rappler.com

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