MANILA - Hundreds of repatriated Filipinos from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were sent home Wednesday after completing the mandatory 14-day quarantine in Tarlac province.
According to the Department of Health, a total of 442 repatriates were released from the New Clark City in Tarlac, north of the capital Manila. Of this number, 437 are crew members while 5 others are passengers.
One repatriate is left behind in the quarantine facility, awaiting laboratory results.
Two others, who are crew members, have been referred to the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital (JBLMRH) after testing positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). They are tagged as patients 25 and 26 in the health department's tally of COVID-19 cases.
The close contacts of the two will also undergo additional 14-day home quarantine and will be continuously monitored by their respective local health offices, the DOH said.
All 445 repatriates were flown out of Japan on Feb. 25, and were sent straight to the New Clark City for quarantine.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III commended all health workers who have been taking care of Filipino repatriates.
"We commend the health workers who have been tirelessly caring for our repatriates for the past month. First, those from Wuhan, and now those from Japan. Their dedication to their work and their countrymen is truly inspiring,” Duque said in a statement.
The Diamond Princess, moored off Yokohama near Tokyo, had among the biggest cluster of coronavirus infections outside the Chinese epicenter.
The Philippines currently has 49 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as the health department announced 16 new cases Wednesday afternoon.