Pinoys from cruise ship home at last

February 26, 2020

A TOTAL of 445 Filipinos aboard MV Diamond Princess cruise ship arrived in Pampanga Tuesday night on two Philippine Airlines (PAL) chartered flights from Haneda Airport in Japan, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Following 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.

After the release of negative laboratory results of tests conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor 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.

Carrying 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), the first flight 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.

Both flights were received at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Airbase, Pampanga, the DFA said.

All arrangements upon arrival were handled as agreed in IATF Resolution 07 dated February 21. 

After landing, all repatriates, as well as the DFA and DOH repatriation team members, and PAL flight crew were brought to the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City, Tarlac for the 14-day quarantine program of the DOH.

A total of 538 Filipino crew and passengers were on 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.

Filipinos who tested positive for the COVID-19 are still at a medical facility in Japan.

The DFA earlier said there are 80 Filipinos from the ship who were confirmed to have contracted the virus.