370 Filipinos from cruise ships in Italy now back in PH

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 370 Filipinos from 3 different cruise ships docked in Italy are now back in the Philippines. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, March 29, said that the Filipinos arrived in Manila via a chartered flight which landed early evening of Saturday, March 28.  

The group was composed of 248 Filipinos from the MV Costa Luminosa docked in Milan and 122 Filipinos from the MV Grandiosa and MV Opera docked in Rome.  

The DFA gave assurances that the 370 Filipinos went through medical check-ups and did not show signs of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before boarding the flight. The repatriated Filipinos will likewise undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine in the Philippines, supervised by the Bureau of Quarantine. 

Apart from this, the DFA said that a small batch of 13 Filipinos from Spain also arrived in the Philippines on Saturday. 

The Filipino repatriates from Italy were among the first batch repatriated from the country, which until recently, was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Philippine government had been coordinating with the Italian government for their return after travel restrictions resulted in a halt in international flights from the country.  

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

The DFA said that it expects several more repatriations “in the coming weeks.” 

The Philippines has so far counted 1,075 coronavirus cases as of Saturday night, including 68 deaths and 35 recoveries. – 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.