Plans finalized for voluntary repatriation of 497 Filipinos on cruise ship
Plans are being finalized to repatriate the remaining 497 Filipinos on board the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship which has been quarantined by Japanese authorities off Yokohama to curb the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Assistant Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergiere said among the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is that repatriation will be voluntary.
"This is voluntary. They will be asked who are willing to go home, who wants to go home," she said.
The two-week quarantine period imposed by Japanese authorities ended Wednesday.
Vergeire also said only those who do not show symptoms of the disease will be allowed to join the repatriation.
"All who will be repatriated should be asymptomatic, they must not have any symptoms. They should also test negative before they get on board our chartered plane," said the official.
She also said that those who will seek repatriation will be undergoing another 14-day quarantine period upon their arrival.
"There were facilities that were discussed and identified. But we still cannot provide the exact facility, where they will be brought, because we still need to do some coordination," said Vergeire.
There are a total of 538 Filipinos at the cruise ship, including 531 crew members and seven guest passengers.
Forty-one Filipinos have tested positive for the COVID-19, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
Vergeire added six more Filipinos have been confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus from Wuhan, China.
As for those quarantined at the Athlete's Village of the New Clark City in Tarlac, Vergeire said only one the 49 repatriated from Wuhan, China have not shown any symptoms of the disease.
She said only a 38-year-old pregnant female is presently at a medical facility after experiencing high blood pressure and swelling.
"The rest are okay. They are asymptomatic. Hopefully, they can already complete the quarantine period this coming Saturday," said Vergeire.
Once they complete the quarantine period, she said they will be brought home by the government. They will still be monitored by health department officials in their region for at least two weeks. DMS