MANILA - The repatriation of hundreds of Filipinos aboard the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan is set on Tuesday, Feb. 25, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said Sunday.
Locsin made the announcement in a tweet following an earlier advisory about the deferment of the planned repatriation on Sunday to allow the completion of laboratory tests and compliance with quarantine protocols.
Japan on Saturday apologized after 23 passengers were allowed to leave without being properly tested.
Locsin, in his tweet, said this "may be why Japan offered to host the Filipino crew before their repatriation for testing."
All Filipinos have been tested but results have yet to be released, he said.
"Those found positive have been hospitalized. We accepted with deep gratitude. Thank you, Japan. So far, 25 Feb is repatriation day," he said.
The health department said Thursday some 460 to 480 Filipinos aboard the cruise ship have requested assistance to return to the Philippines.
The news of Diamond Princess passengers mistakenly leaving the ship came as a Japanese woman who disembarked on Wednesday tested positive for the virus after returning home to Japan's Tochigi Prefecture.
She is the first person to have tested positive for the virus among the group of approximately 970 passengers who disembarked earlier this week.
The vessel, moored off the Japanese coast in Yokohama near Tokyo, has the biggest cluster of coronavirus infections outside the Chinese epicenter, with over 600 cases confirmed among the 3,700 passengers and crew.
So far, 52 Filipinos from the ship tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), of whom one has recovered.
-- With Agence France-Presse