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Philippines embassy, cruise lines working to ensure seafarersâ health
It issued the statement as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed yesterday that 518 Filipino crewmembers are onboard the MV Grand Princess cruise ship, which was held off the coast of California after two of its passengers reportedly tested positive for the virus.
AFP/California National Guard, Handout

Philippines embassy, cruise lines working to ensure seafarers’ health

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - March 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine embassy in Washington is closely coordinating with cruise lines operating in the US and the Caribbean to monitor the incidence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and ensure the safety of Filipino seafarers.

It issued the statement as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed yesterday that 518 Filipino crewmembers are onboard the MV Grand Princess cruise ship, which was held off the coast of California after two of its passengers reportedly tested positive for the virus.

“As of the moment, there are passengers and crew of unidentified nationalities who are exhibiting symptoms and are being tested accordingly,” the DFA said, admitting that it still has no information on whether there are Filipino passengers on board.

In the meantime, the Philippine embassy in Washington urged Filipinos in the US to heed the advice of health agencies, particularly on frequent hand washing and regular disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces.

It also advised Filipinos to avoid contact with people who are sick and cover their mouth when they cough and sneeze with a tissue and to dispose of this properly.

As of Thursday, there have been 152 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

The total includes the 45 US citizens repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was docked in Yokohama, Japan and three citizens from Wuhan, China, origin of the coronavirus. –Janvic MAteo

COVID-19 DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
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