Last 80 Filipino crew from virus-hit Japan cruise ship now back in PH

MANILA, Philippines – All 80 Filipinos infected with the novel coronavirus aboard the MV Diamond Princess cruise ship are now back in the Philippines. 

Philippine Deputy Chief of Mission to Japan Robespierre Bolivar confirmed this in a message to Rappler on Wednesday, April 1, saying all Filipinos were successfully treated and discharged from hospitals in Tokyo. 

“All Filipino crew of Diamond Princess who were admitted to hospital have already been successfully treated, discharged, and repatriated as of yesterday, March 31,” Bolivar said.  

The homecoming comes nearly two months since the Diamond Princess was quarantined off a port in Yokohama, Japan on February 5 – after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus.  

News of the first case raised fears of widespread transmission on the ship, prompting passengers to be confined to their rooms on the boat. 

Quarantine, however, was not much of an option for crew members who needed to keep the ship running. Tasks like delivering and preparing food had also left crew exposed to passengers who could have been positive. 

The last Filipino crew member who had tested positive for the coronavirus was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, March 31. 

There were a total of 3,700 people onboard the ship, including 531 Filipino crew members and 7 Filipino passengers. Last February 25, 445 Filipinos from the ship returned to the Philippines. 

Aside from Filipinos previously on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the DFA earlier repatriated Filipinos from Hubei, China, where the novel coronavirus originated; from Macau, a quarantined cruise ship in Oakland, California, cruise ships docked in Italy, and cruise ships docked in the United States. 

The Philippines has counted 2,311 coronavirus cases, including 96 deaths and 50 recoveries, as of Wednesday.

The global death toll has surpassed 40,000, while more than 840,000 have been infected in over 180 countries and territories – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

image