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445 Filipinos aboard Wuhan coronavirus cruise ship under quarantine in Philippines

Christian Fernsby |
A total of 445 Filipinos aboard Wuhan coronavirus stricken cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan entered a 14 day quarantine at a facility north of Manila after they were flown back to the Philippines late yesterday night and early today morning.

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"After the release of negative laboratory results of tests conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the repatriates were allowed to disembark from the ship and transfer by bus to Haneda airport," the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

The Philippine government chartered two Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights to bring home the Filipino crew members and passengers from Japan to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga province.

The DFA said the first flight, which carried 309 passengers, as well as a two member repatriation team from the DFA and a four member health response team from the Department of Health, arrived at Clark Airbase at 10:10 p.m. on Tuesday.

The DFA added the second flight, with 136 passengers in addition to a two member DFA team and a five member team from the DOH, arrived at 12:12 a.m. on Wednesday.

Upon landing, the DFA said all repatriates, as well as the DFA and DOH repatriation team members, and PAL flight crew were brought to the Athletes' Village in New Clark City for another round of 14 day quarantine program.

According to the DFA, a total of 538 Filipino crew and passengers were onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, of which 80 tested positive for COVID 19 and have been admitted to Japanese hospitals. Of the 80 infected Filipinos, the DOH said 10 have recovered and discharged from hospitals.

None of these 80 positive cases, however, were included in the Philippine government's repatriation program for now.

The cruise ship has been quarantined at the Yokohama port in Japan since Feb. 5, after one of its passengers tested positive for Wuhan coronavirus.

The ship, with more than 3,500 passengers and crew members, docked at the port for more than two weeks before its passengers and crew members were allowed to disembark.

The group is the second batch of repatriates that the DFA brought home following the first batch of 30 repatriates from Wuhan in central China that finished their 14 day quarantine at New Clark City on Feb. 22.