Around 500 Filipinos from Japan cruise ship to be repatriated on Sunday, Feb. 23

A general view of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, in quarantine due to fears of new COVID-19 coronavirus, is seen at 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. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)


(Eagle News) – Some 500 Filipinos, mostly crew members, aboard the Japan cruise ship Diamond Princess are scheduled to be repatriated to the country on Sunday, Feb. 23.

The announcement was made by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday, Feb. 20, saying that there would be at least 16 hospitals which would provide services to attend to the needs of the Filipinos from the cruise ship.

All the repatriates will be housed at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, where the repatriated Filipinos from Wuhan City were also staying.

He said that since Japan had decided to let all the passengers of the cruise ship to disembark, more of the Filipinos in the ship decided to avail of the repatriation option, instead of staying in Japan.

He said that there would be at least four hospitals that will be participating in the provision of health services for the additional 500 repatriates to be sent to the New Clark City.

There will be 10 personnel per team: two doctors, four nurses, two nursing attendants, and two utility workers.

“So we have to rotate our health personnel who are to provide health services to ensure the health and wellness and safety of our compatriots,” he said.

Duque explained that there would be a technical working group meeting later on the “HR (human resource) complement” for the 500 Filipino repatriates.

All the Filipinos aboard the cruise ship who will be considered for repatriation are those who tested negative for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and should be “asymptomatic,” meaning that they should not have any symptoms of the disease such as coughs, colds and fever.

Those who tested positive would have to be treated at the hospitals there in Japan, he said.

Duque explained that the same quarantine protocol implemented with the Filipino repatriates from Wuhan City, would be done with the Filipinos to be repatriated from the Japan cruise ship.

There will be a pre-disembarkation screening by the Japanese authorities, and a post-disembarkation screening by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) personnel for the Filipinos to be repatriated.

Once they arrive in the country, they will undergo another 14-day quarantine period at the New Clark City.