At least 11 Filipinos on Japan cruise ship infected with coronavirus

MANILA, Philipines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced a total of 11 Filipinos aboard a cruise ship quarantined off Yokohama, Japan, tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Thursday, February 13.

The latest figure showed 6 additional cases for the virus after the Japanese Health Ministry announced dozens more cases were found on the cruise ship Diamond Princess.

The cruise ship was quarantined after an 80-year-old passenger who departed from Hong Kong was found to have the virus.

The DFA said the 6 Filipinos were crew members of the ship. Before this, 5 other Filipinos were confirmed to have the virus. 

The ship, carrying some 3,700 passengers and crew, is anchored off a pier in the Kanagawa Prefecture capital.

"As of 13 February 2020, the total number of Filipinos who have tested positive for COVID-19 is 11. All of them are now confined in various hospitals in and around the Tokyo area," the DFA said.

It added no Filipinos were included in a new group of 44 persons who tested positive for the virus Thursday.

The agency also said a team from the Philippine embassy in Tokyo visited the hospitals Thursday afternoon "to speak with the doctors and social workers assigned to the Filipino patients in order to ensure their well-being."

The DFA earlier said 538 Filipinos were onboard the Diamond Princess.

The agency reassured the public the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo was regularly communicating with the Filipinos in the hospitals, who were "responding well to treatment." The DFA said the Philippine embassy was also looking after Filipinos who remained onboard the cruise ship.

"The Embassy, in coordination with the Japanese Government, is sending care packages containing toiletries and non-medical supplies to Filipinos who are in hospital as well as those who remain onboard the Diamond Princess," the DFA said.

As of Thursday, the novel coronavirus has killed over 1,300 people and infected over 60,000 people across 26 countries.

The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the outbreak, which has prompted countries such as the Philippines and the United States to impose strict travel restrictions. – 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.

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