Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, PN chief, said that apart from taking packed meals, the Filipino contingent has to observe other health protocols to avoid infection.
STAR/KJ Rosales/ File
Filipino sailors training in South Korea all safe — Navy chief
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino naval officers training in virus-hit South Korea to bring home the Philippine Navy (PN)’s first brand new frigate are safe and exercising caution against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a top military official said yesterday.

Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, PN chief, said that apart from taking packed meals, the Filipino contingent has to observe other health protocols to avoid infection.

The Filipino sailors are at the sprawling facility of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in Ulsan, where they are training on how to handle, operate and maintain the guided-missile-capable BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), Bacordo said.

The frigate is on the final phase of sea trial and due to sail home with its Filipino naval crew by the third week of April. It is set to participate in the International Fleet Review in Manila in May.

At present, the mess hall and other places of convergence at HHI like gyms have been closed as a precautionary measure against the transmission of COVID-19.

“Rooms are closed. Breakfast and dinner – it’s all take out. You just pick your packed breakfast and packed dinner and back to your station or room,” Bacordo said.

At lunchtime, the mess hall opens but requires one-seat-apart sitting arrangement and face masks for the Filipino sailors, he said.

“Disinfectants like alcohol were issued to them and they wear face masks even inside their rooms,” he added.

As part of military protocol, the PN chief did not disclose the number of naval officers involved in the training.

South Korea is second only to Italy in the tally of countries, apart from China, with the biggest number of COVID-19 cases at 7,513 as of yesterday.

PHILIPPINE NAVY SOUTH KOREA
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