MANILA, Philippines — All the Filipino crew and passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship that is moored in Japan who tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have signified their desire to return home to the Philippines, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
495 Filipinos are still on the cruise ship even as the two-week quarantine period has passed.
The 43 Filipinos who tested positive for the virus are still admitted in the hospital.
“So even those that had earlier indicated that they would want to stay behind there has been a change of heart by almost all of them,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
Duque said two chartered planes will be used in repatriating the Pinoy crew and passengers who have voluntarily signified their willingness to return to the Philippines.
The DOH official also said they are not discounting any possibility that some of them will still have a change of heart on the very day of their departure.
“They cannot be sure until iyong magbo-board na because siyempre may mga nagde-decide diyan. Iyong iba they might want to stay behind, others might have second thoughts. Iyong dating ayaw gusto na ngayon. So, let’s just have an indicative number of 500,” Duque said.
The DOH, however, clarified that once any of these Filipinos show any symptoms of COVID-19 before the scheduled repatriation will be automatically deleted from the list and will remain in Japan for treatment.
Those asymptomatic will still undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival to the Philippines. — (from the report of Dante Amento) /mbmf
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