TWO chartered flights yesterday were bringing home from Japan over 400 Fililpinos on virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested negative of the virus.
The two planes will arrive two and a half hours apart, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
Like the Filipinos plucked from the coranavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epicenter Wuhan, those returning from Yokohama will be brought to the New Clark City in Capas. Tarlac for another 14 days of quarantine and will be placed under close monitoring.
In Japan they had undergone a 14-day quarantine aboard the cruise ship.
According to information from the DFA, the first chartered plane is expected to arrive at Clark Air Base in Pampanga at 8:30 p.m. while the second flight will touch down at 10:40 p.m.
A total of 538 Filipinos—seven passengers and 531 crew members—were aboard the M/V Diamond Princess when one of its passengers tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.
The total number of Filipinos on the cruise ship who have tested positive for the virus have reached 80, Duque told Dobol B sa News TV.
Ten of the infected have been given a clean bill of health and have left hospital, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido “Dodo” Dulay said in a latest update on the cruise ship situation.
4th death on ship
Meanwhile a fourth person has died in Japan after becoming ill aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, local media reported Tuesday, as the government vowed new measures to fight the outbreak.
Nearly 700 people on board the Diamond Princess, which spent two weeks quarantined off Japan, have so far tested positive for the virus.
Four people who were hospitalised after being taken off the ship have died, the latest a man in his 80s, according to local media.
The Yomiuri Shimbun daily said the man had tested positive for the new coronavirus and died of pneumonia. The health ministry declined to comment on the reports.
Three others, all Japanese, have so far died after becoming sick on the ship. Two were confirmed to have the new coronavirus, while the health ministry declined to comment on the diagnosis of the third.
Japan has come under increasing pressure over its handling of the ship, particularly after it emerged that some passengers allowed to disembark after testing negative were subsequently diagnosed with the virus.
Some of the disembarking passengers were not even tested during the quarantine period, the health ministry has acknowledged.
Several government officials working on the ship have themselves contracted the infection, but authorities have defended a policy of not uniformly testing those working on the boat.