(Eagle News) – The Philippine government is now studying the evacuation plans for Filipinos on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan amid the rising number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the ship.
So far, the number of Filipinos who tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has risen to 27, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that they are now finalizing the evacuation details for the Filipinos on board the ship.
There are 538 Filipinos — 531 crew members and 7 guest passengers — aboard the Diamond Princess who are now placed on quarantine.
At least 27 Filipinos already tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the ship. There are currently more than 450 passengers who were reported to have the novel coronavirus.
“The Embassy is in close coordination with the relevant Philippine and Japanese government agencies, and representatives of the World Health Organization and Princess Cruises to ensure that the needs of the Filipino crew and passengers are met and to facilitate their return to the Philippines,” DFA said in a statement.
Still, all the evacuated passengers would have to undergo another quarantine procedure once they are in the Philippines, according to the DOH.
The Japan Embassy had already requested the repatriation of the Filipinos on the cruise ship after the quarantine period, said Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
She said that a separate quarantine facility is being considered for these repatriates from the cruise ship once they arrive in the country.
“There will be a final agreement on this by tomorrow,” she said.
Vergeire said that once the Filipinos disembark from the cruise ship, they are also required to undergo tests for COVID-19.