Coming Home

February 19, 2020
Wearing mask
This photo taken on February 14, shows a woman wearing a face mask walking past a charms shop in the Binondo
district of Chinatown in Manila. AFP

THE first Filipino crew member of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for corona virus disease-19 (COVID-19) has fully recuperated and is set to be discharged by a Japanese hospital while the other Filipinos who tested negative for the virus will be repatriated immediately on orders of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr.

Locsin, on his official twitter account, said yesterday he has ordered the Philippine embassy in Tokyo to immediately repatriate Filipinos on the cruise ship.

The ship, which docked in Yokohama, Japan was put under quarantine after some of its passengers were found to have been infected with  the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“@DFAPHL I have ordered our Tokyo Embassy to immediately repatriate our people in the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohoma Japan. It’s our duty to take care (of) our Overseas Filipinos wherever they are. I want them home now!” Locsin tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo  announced that “the first Filipino crew member who tested positive for COVID-19 and who was admitted to the hospital on February 5 has been successfully treated and is scheduled to be discharged today, February 19.”

A total of 40 Filipinos have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in medical facilities in and around the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.  This includes a new group of six Filipinos who tested positive for the virus yesterday.

The Embassy is in touch with those who have been admitted to hospitals in order to ensure their well-being and to provide them any assistance they need.

In coordination with the Japanese Government and the management of Princess Cruises the Philippine Embassy is finalizing the details, logistics and schedule of the repatriation of Filipino crew and passengers onboard the Diamond Princess, as the Japanese Government-imposed quarantine of the ship ended yesterday.

A certificate that indicates a negative COVID-19 test result is expected to be granted by Japanese health authorities to the crew and passengers to exit the ship.

All Filipino crew and passengers who were cleared for disembarkation from the vessel will be assisted by the Embassy and Princess Cruises, and will be repatriated back to the Philippines at the soonest possible time.  

Filipinos who are in hospital for treatment will be repatriated as soon as these hospitals grant them medical clearance.