PH repatriates citizens aboard Japan cruise ship

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 25 2020 10:37 PM | Updated as of Feb 26 2020 10:14 AM

DFA: At least 80 Filipinos on the ship tested positive for COVID-19

The first of two PAL flights carrying Filipino repatriates who were aboard the MV Diamond Princess lands at Haribon Hangar, Clark Airbase at 10:15 p.m., Tuesday. Courtesy of DFA

People welcome the first of two PAL flights that landed at Haribon Hangar, Clark Airbase at 10:15 p.m., Tuesday. The flight carried some 300 Filipino repatriates who were aboard the MV Diamond Princess docked in Japan. Courtesy of DFA

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippine government on Tuesday brought home more than 400 of its citizens after being quarantined for weeks on virus-stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess moored off Japan.

Two special flights by the Philippine flag carrier repatriated 445 Filipinos from the cruise ship, 9 members of the Department of Health, and 4 officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), authorities said.

The first flight, with 309 Filipinos from the Diamond Princess, 2 DFA officers and 4 DOH medics, arrived at 10:15 p.m. at Clark Airport in Pampanga.

 

The second flight, with 136 Diamond Princess crew members, 2 DFA officers and 5 DOH medics, arrived at 12:12 a.m., Wednesday.

Upon arrival, the Filipinos will be quarantined at New Clark City in Tarlac for 14 days, Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier said.

At least 80 Filipinos aboard the ship have tested positive for the virus, according to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay, making it the biggest group of infected Filipinos yet.

That was up from 59 reported on Monday, according to Reuters.

Of this figure, 10 have been discharged from hospital, Dulay said.

A Filipino crew member of the ship was the first known case of a Philippine citizen infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

The vessel, moored off Yokohama near Tokyo, has the second-biggest cluster of coronavirus infections outside the Chinese epicenter, with over 600 cases confirmed among the 3,700 passengers and crew.