Filipino seafarer with COVID-19 India variant dies

Sofia Tomacruz
Filipino seafarer with COVID-19 India variant dies
The Department of Health says other Filipino crew members from MV Athens who tested positive for the India variant are in stable condition

A Filipino crew member of M/V Athens Bridge who earlier tested positive for the COVID-19 India variant has died, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday, May 24. 

In a media briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the male seafarer passed away on Friday, May 21. He had been confined at the ManilaMed hospital, along with three other crew members who were being treated for COVID-19. 

“One died last week… three others are alive and have recovered. They are in stable condition,” Vergeire said in Filipino. 

The deceased Filipino seafarer has been one of 12 crew members of the MV Athens Bridge from India who earlier tested positive for the coronavirus. Of the 12 members who tested positive for the disease, nine were found to have the variant of concern first found in India.

Aside from the three seafarers with the India variant earlier hospitalized due to the disease, Vergeire said the five other crew members positive for the variant have also recovered. 

The nine individuals from MV Athens ship who were found positive for the India variant were among 12 cases being monitored by the DOH.

Aside from the seafarers, Vergeire said two other cases recovered, while one was currently under monitoring in an isolation facility. 

The World Health Organization had earlier classified the variant found in India – called “B1617” – as a variant of concern, making it the fourth variant to be designated as such. The others are those first detected in the United Kingdom (B117), South Africa (B1351), and Brazil (P1). 

To date, the India variant has been found in at least 21 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore. 

In a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coming from international flights, the Philippines earlier implemented a stricter two-week quarantine protocols and delayed testing to 7th day for international arrivals. A travel ban on arrivals coming from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, and  the United Arab Emirates is also in effect until May 31. –

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at