Filipinos on quarantined ship to come home on February 23  â DOH
The Diamond Princess cruise ship (back) in quarantine due to fears of the new COVID-19 coronavirus, is seen at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama on February 20, 2020. Two former passengers of the coronavirus-wracked Diamond Princess have died, local media reported, as fears mount about those who have left the ship after testing negative for the virus.
AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi

Filipinos on quarantined ship to come home on February 23  — DOH

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - February 20, 2020 - 5:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health at a press briefing on Thursday said that some 500 Filipinos previously aboard the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship in Japan quarantined due to confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, would be repatriated on February 23, Sunday. 

The upcoming repatriation effort, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said  would mirror the initial repatriation plan for Filipinos coming from Wuhan City in China, but with some adjustments due to the bigger number.

According to Duque, the compatriots will be brought to Haribon Hangar of Clark Air Base in two planes arriving some two or three hours apart, boarded onto buses after immigration processes and quarantine procedures, and accommodated at the New Clark City Athletes Village.

"There will be more transport services. You will have two aircrafts, more transportation to bring the repatriates to the facility. There will just be a multiplier effect," Duque said. 

Those coming home have not exhibited symptoms of the new virus although Duque expressed uncertainty as to their exact number.

"Let's just have an indicative number of 500, more or less," he said.  

Asked if those undergoing repatriation would be doing so voluntarily, the Health secretary replied, "That is the sense that I got."

'Repatriates quarantined in the same area'

The department also disclosed that the new repatriates would be staying on the same floor as those already at the Athletes Village.

Of those under quarantine at New Clark City, Duque assured, "They are all well. 'Yung mga nagpakita ng symptoms, they are all negative for COVID-19."

The Filipino crew member aboard the Diamond Princess who tested negative for COVID-19 will also be quarantined when he returns to the country, Duque said.

Duque also disclosed that the number of Filipinos who remained on board who tested positive had already reached 44, a number he said was still subject to validation. 

"I don't have the very granular details, so we will just have to wait," he said.  

Amid earlier concerns that the first batch of repatriated overseas Filipino workers could contribute to the spread of the virus, the DOH assured the public that none of those quarantined showed any symptoms. 

READ: How the OFWs repatriated from Wuhan, China were screened and quarantined

Medical teams

The Health department also disclosed they would bring medical personnel from various hospitals in Luzon to attend to the Filipinos heading home. There will be 16 hospitals. 

Also present at the New Clark City will be teams of 10 comprising two doctors, four nurses, two nursing attendants and two utility workers. 

Asked if these 10-member teams would be enough to fulfill the needs of the repatriates, Duque said, "I'm sure that will be the subject of the TWG meeting this afternoon."

  • Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital
  • Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center
  • Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center
  • Talavera General Hospital 
  • Mariveles General Hospital 
  • Baguio General Hospital Medical Center
  • East Avenue Medical Center 
  • Ilocos Training Regional Medical 
  • Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center
  • Region 1 Medical Center 
  • Tondo Medical Center 
  • Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital 
  • Rizal Medical Center
  • Southern Isabela General Hospital 
  • Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital & Medical Center 
  • Quirino Memorial Medical Center
  • Valenzuela Medical Center

"We have to rotate our medical personnel [providing] health services," Duque said. 

As for Filipinos who recover will also be repatriated, Duque said it would be under the jurisdiction of the inter-agency task force.

"But in principle, if they want to be repatriated, we will facilitate it," he assured. 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 16, 2021 - 7:52am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

June 16, 2021 - 7:52am

The US death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 600,000 on Tuesday, although officials hailed progress towards a return to normality as its world-leading vaccination program promised to turn the page on one of the worst health crises in American history.

The United States has racked up by far the largest national death toll  ahead of Brazil and India  after a heavily-criticized early response to the pandemic, but has since organized among the world's most effective immunization drives.

Progress against the coronavirus was underlined as New York announced more than 70 percent of adults had received at least one vaccine dose and the last of the state's restrictions could be lifted.

"There's still too many lives being lost," President Joe Biden said, noting that despite the daily number of dead dropping sharply, the continuing loss of life was still "a real tragedy." — AFP

June 14, 2021 - 7:22pm

The pandemic has killed at least 3,805,928 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in December 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data at 1830 GMT. 

The US is the worst-affected country with 599,769 deaths, followed by Brazil with 487,401, India with 374,305, Mexico with 230,150, Peru with 188,708 and the United Kingdom with 127,904.

The figures are based on reports by health authorities in each country, but do not take into account upward revisions carried out later by statistical bodies. 

The WHO says up to three times more people have died directly or indirectly due to the pandemic than official figures suggest. —  AFP

June 13, 2021 - 4:12pm

The DOH logs 7,302 more COVID-19 cases, pushing the Philippines' tally to 1,315,639.

  • Recoveries: 7,701 new; 1,232,986 total
  • Deaths: 137 new; 22,788 total
  • Active cases: 59,865 or 4.6% of total
June 12, 2021 - 6:41pm

The government of Saudi Arabia will allow 60,000 vaccinated residents to perform hajj.

June 12, 2021 - 3:21pm

Queen Elizabeth II will recognize those responsible for Britain's successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout in her annual Birthday Honours list, Buckingham Palace says.

Sarah Gilbert, lead developer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and Kate Bingham, the former chair of Britain's vaccine taskforce, are both to receive damehoods -- one of the highest honours bestowed by the monarch. — AFP

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