If all goes well, Filipinos on virus cruise ship head home tomorrow, according to DFA chief’s post on Twitter
OVER 400 Filipino crew members and passengers of the MV Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan are set to come home this week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
Foreign Secreetary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Filipinos are set to be repatriated tomorrow. “So far 25 Feb is repatriation day,” the top DFA official said on Twitter.
The group is the second batch of repatriates that the DFA will bring home from COVID-19-affected areas, following the first batch of 30 repatriates from Wuhan that finished their 14-day quarantine at New Clark City today.
The repatriation of the Filipino crew members and passengers onboard the ship, while faced with various logistical challenges, is being undertaken by the DFA as it is deemed best for the Filipinos to be brought home and temporarily housed at the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City under the full medical attention of health professionals from the Department of Health (DOH).
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Brigido J. Dulay said that the DFA, together with the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, is doing its best to bring home the Filipinos aboard the MV Diamond Princess which is presently the site of the highest number of COVID-19 cases outside of China.
Currently, the DFA, through the Embassy, is closely working with the Japanese Government on finalizing details regarding the repatriation of the over 400 Filipinos onboard the ship.
The repatriation preparations undertaken by the DFA include securing clearances and permits for the disembarkation, land transfer, as well as the arrangements for the chartered flights.
The DFA, in particular, is working with the Japan Self Defense Forces in arranging for the land transfer of the repatriates from Yokohama Port to Haneda where the chartered flight will take off.
Moreover, the DFA is also working closely with the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW), to ensure the completion of the laboratory testing of all the Filipinos onboard the ship in compliance with the established Japanese quarantine protocols, in time for the repatriation date.
The DFA also ensured that the repatriates will be well taken care of from disembarkation until their safe arrival in the Philippines by providing accompanying DFA officials to facilitate the repatriation, as well as a team of health professionals from the DOH to provide immediate medical assistance if needed.
Aside from the preparations for the repatriation, the DFA has also provided food, medicine, masks, and other supplies for the Filipinos remaining onboard through the Embassy.
To date, a total of 49 Filipinos have tested positive for COVID-19, and two have already been discharged from hospital. Five more of the COVID-19-positive Filipinos are waiting to be discharged in the coming week.
The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi reported that a second Filipino in UAE was confirmed positive with COVID-19.
This developed as the first Filipino, aged 43, who tested positive for COVID-19 in UAE was transferred to another hospital and is being closely monitored as his condition is not improving.
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention made the announcement yesterday bringing the total of COVID-19 infected persons in the UAE to 11.
The 34-year-old Filipino is reported to be in stable condition.
The Embassy maintains close coordination with the UAE authorities, assuring that our kababayan is being given maximum care and support.