(Eagle News) – The Philippine government has successfully brought home 445 Filipinos, mostly crewmembers of the MV Diamond Princess cruise ship, through two chartered flights of the Philippine Airlines (PAL), the Department of Foreign Affairs (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 (DOH) arrived at Clark Airbase at 10:10 p.m. of February 25.
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. of February 26.
Dōmo arigatōgozaimashita, Japan! 🇵🇭🤝🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/oJW9AUxYKN
— DFA Philippines (@DFAPHL) February 25, 2020
Both flights coming from Haneda Airport in Japan were received at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Airbase, Pampanga.
The repatriates were then brought to the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City, Tarlac for the 14-day quarantine program of the DOH.
Included in the quarantine procedure at the New Clark City were the members of the DOH and DFA teams who facilitated the repatriation, as well as the PAL flight crew members who manned the two flights back home.
“After the release of negative laboratory results of tests conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), the repatriates were allowed to disembark from the ship and transfer by bus to Haneda airport. The movement was overseen by and coordinated with the Japan Self Defense Forces,” said a DFA statement on the repatriation process.
The DFA said that this was in accordance with the directives of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), in cooperation with the Japanese government.
The repatriation was facilitated by the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.
A total of 538 Filipino crew and passengers were onboard the cruise ship, of which 80 persons tested positive for COVID-19 and have been admitted to Japanese hospitals. The MV Diamond Princess cruise has been quarantined at the Port of Yokohama since February 5 after one of its passengers tested positive for COVID-19.
The group is the second batch of repatriates that the DFA brought home following the first batch of 30 repatriates from Wuhan that finished their 14-day quarantine at New Clark City on February 22
(with a DFA release)