(Eagle News) – The Department of Health said on Wednesday, March 11, that it had already sent off 442 Filipinos repatriated from the Japan cruise ship, the MV Diamond Princess, after completing the 14-day quarantine period.
The repatriates from Japan cruise ship who were released from the New Clark City that had served as their quarantine facility have earlier tested negative for the virus, but they still had to complete the required 2-week quarantine period at NCC in Capas, Tarlac and to be tested again to be certain that they had no infection.
In its regular press briefing, the DOH said that only three of the total 445 repatriates had to stay at the referral hospital due to COVID-19 monitoring.
Two of them had tested positive for coronavirus, while one awaited test results.
-Two crew members test positive for COVID-19; 1 more awaiting test results-
“Out of the 445 repatriates, 2 crew members (PH25 and PH26) tested positive for the disease and were immediately referred to the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital (JBLMRH,” said Health Assistant Secretary Dra. Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Disinfection procedures for the rooms used by the 2 patients have been implemented as well,” she said.
The DOH said that the close contacts of the two confirmed cases will undergo an additional 14-day home quarantine and will be continuously monitored by their respective municipal or city health offices.
Vergeire said that the other repatriate who is awaiting test results remained at the New Clark City.
The remaining repatriate is left in NCC awaiting lab results.
“From the beginning, DOH was aware of the risk that some of the repatriates might test positive for COVID-19. This is why strict infection prevention and control measures were enforced during the quarantine period to protect our kababayans and the health workers attending to them,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in a statement.
The 442 repatriates who were sent off included 437 crew members and five passengers of the Japan cruise ship.
Meanwhile, the DOH also thanked the health officers and medical personnel, as well as other volunteers, who helped the department to take care of the repatriates while they were under quarantine at the NCC.
DOH Hospitals from the National Capital Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Bicol Region also deployed additional health workers to help monitor and care for the almost 500 repatriates, the DOH said.
“We commend the health workers who have been tirelessly caring for our repatriates for the past month. First, those from Wuhan, and now those from Japan. Their dedication to their work and their countrymen is truly inspiring,” Duque said.
The Filipinos repatriated from the MV Diamond Princess were quarantined at the NCC starting Feb. 26, shortly after arriving in the country.
They were repatriated in two batches. The first batch arrived at past 10 p.m. on Feb. 25, while the second batch arrived shortly after midnight of Feb. 26.