MANILA - Sixteen more Filipinos onboard a cruise ship moored off Japan have tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.
This brings the total number of affected Filipinos onboard Diamond Princess to 27, the agency said in a statement.
The new cases were confirmed on Saturday, the DFA said, citing data from the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.
"The Embassy is in close coordination with the relevant Philippine and Japanese government agencies, and representatives of the World Health Organization and Princess Cruises to ensure that the needs of the Filipino crew and passengers are met and to facilitate their return to the Philippines," it said.
Outside China, the biggest cluster of COVID-19 infections is on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where coronavirus cases have climbed quickly to 355 despite passengers being confined to their cabins during a 14-day quarantine set to end Wednesday.
A Filipino crew member of the ship was the first known case of a Filipino infected with COVID-19. An inter-agency body will discuss the repatriation of Filipino passengers on Monday afternoon, DFA Assistant Secretary Ed Meñez said.
The US on Monday evacuated its citizens from the cruise ship after 40 of them tested positive for the new strain of virus. --With a report from Agence France-Presse