Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday ordered the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo for the immediate repatriation of Filipinos aboard Diamond Princess off Japan’s coast after the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship completed a two-week quarantine.
“@DFAPHL I have ordered our Tokyo Embassy to immediately repatriate our people in the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohoma Japan. It’s our duty to take care our Overseas Filipinos wherever they are. I want them home now!” Locsin said in a tweet on Wednesday.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported that some 41 out of 500 Filipinos aboard the ship contracted the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
All of those who tested positive are crew members of the Carnival Corp-operated cruise liner.
They were confined in hospitals in Japan and were responding well to the treatment, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
Health Assistant Secretary for Public Health Services Maria Rosario Vergeire said Filipino repatriates will have to undergo another 14-day quarantine in the Philippines.
The ship was kept in quarantine since February 3 after a passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong, was found to be infected with the virus.
When the quarantine ended on Wednesday, more than 500 people were confirmed to have been infected by COVID-19.
The new strain of coronavirus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Earlier this month, the Philippine government repatriated around 30 Filipinos from Wuhan.
They are currently staying at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac for a 2-week quarantine, the incubation period of the virus.
COVID-19 has killed more than 2,000 people and infected more than 74,000 others in China as of Wednesday./Stacy Ang