The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that 3 more Filipinos who were onboard the Japanese cruise ship M/V Diamond Princess were infected with the novel coronavirus.
"Yes, 41 plus 3 new cases. Minus one who has recovered," the DFA said in a statement on Thursday, February 20, when asked to confirm if there are additional Filipino cruise passengers who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
This means there are now 44 Filipinos who got infected with the novel coronavirus after being onboard the Diamond Princess, which had been quarantined in the port of Yokohama, Japan.
One of the 44, who was the first Filipino reported to have contracted the novel coronavirus, has already recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Some 500 Filipino passengers of Diamond Princess are set to be repatriated back to the country on Sunday, February 23.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said all of them will be brought to New Clark City in Tarlac to be quarantined for another 14 days.
Medical personnel from 16 government hospitals across Luzon will be deployed to help oversee the health status of the repatriates during the quarantine period.
As of Thursday, the DOH has yet to report any case of local transmission of COVID-19, although the Philippines has recorded 3 confirmed cases of the new disease. One of them died, while the other two recovered.
The Philippines has a total of 556 patients under investigtion for the novel coronavirus as of this posting.