52 of 558 Filipinos aboard M/V Diamond Princess in Japan to be left behind


Not all of the 558 Filipinos quarantined aboard M/V Diamond Princess will be able to come home back to the Philippines, as 52 of them might be left behind in Japan after manifesting some symptoms of the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  

On the other hand, some  30 repatriates and 19 crew members at the New Clark City in Tarlac will go home  on February  22, the end of  the 14-day quarantine.

During Friday’s  media briefing, DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have  yet to confirm if the 52 are positive  for the COVID-9  after they manifested signs and symptoms.  

Vergeire said the number might still increase  since  others might develop the symptoms of the novel coronavirus before embarking the chartered plane that would bring them to the Philippines.

After the processing of all their papers on February 23, Vergeire said  it is the only time the Department of Health (DOH) can give the exact number of the second batch of repatriates.  

The next batch of repatriates will be placed on a 14-day quarantine also at the Athletes Village, New Clark City in Capaz, Tarlac.  They will also undergo the same protocol applied to the first batch of repatriates- the 30 Filipinos from Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Vergeire said the Bases Conversion Development  Authority (BCDA), which owns the NCC offers other facilities in the area to be used by the second batch of repatriates.

Meanwhile, Filipinos left in Japan who will turn positive for COVID-19 will be transfered to hospitals or other facilities in Japan. They will be allowed to leave the country only after being discharged from the hospital.

The 14-day quarantine of the more than 3,500 passengers and crew of the ship ended on Wednesday.

Earlier, Health Sec. Francisco Duque Iii said he and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año have written to the local government of Capas to inform it of the “unanimous decision” of the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IAFT-EID) to again use Athletes’ Village as quarantinne for the repatriates from the Diamond Princess.

Despite the huge number of second batch of repatriates , Duque, who heads the interagency task force stressed that it’s the national government‘s prerogative to decide which place to use as quarantine.

On the otherhand, Vergiere annnounced that the quarantined individuals have not shown signs and symptoms of fever, cough or sore throat during their 14-day stay.

She said they will now be allowed to go back to their respective homes and places.

On the other hand, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation will bear the cost of all transportation expenses of the repatriates from Japan until completion of the quarantine period; PPE for the remaining period of the quarantine period, food, lodging, personal hygiene kits and disinfectants, waste disposal services; and other incidental expenses of the repatriated crew.

The Department of Transportation will shoulder the transportation of repatriates from Haribon Airport to New Clark City, while the OWWA will provide livelihood packages to the repatriates, and their transportation from Manila to their respective destinations after the quarantine period.

The IATF also resolved to designate the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac as the quarantine facility for the returning OFs. “Bases Conversion Development Authority has graciously agreed to once again lend their facilities for the quarantine. They will allow us to use other buildings in the facility to accommodate the number of repatriates and have committed to augment the number of personnel who will support operations,” said Duque.  

As this developed, the DOH  tracker showed that 35 more  persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 were discharged from hospitals. This brought to 455 the  total number of patients out of the hospitals.

The DOH website also showed there  are still 139 patients checked for COVID-19 who are still admitted to their respective hospitals for monitoring.

As of 12 noon or February 21, DOH data showed that the total PUI in the country was recorded at 597. The highest number of admitted PUI was still from Metro Manila. The breakdown of the PUI per region: National Capital Region  – 106 admitted, 92 discharged, 2 confirmed cases (1 mortality) Central Luzon – 0 admitted, 60 discharged, Central Visayas – 5 admitted, 54 discharged, 1 confirmed case

Calabarzon – 4 admitted, 74 discharged
Western Visayas – 2 admitted, 36 discharged
Cagayan Valley – 3 admitted, 32 discharged
Cordillera Administrative Region – 8 admitted, 19 discharged.
Davao Region – 0 admitted, 23 discharged
Northern Mindanao – 1 admitted, 16 discharged
Eastern Visayas – 1 admitted, 16 discharged
Mimaropa – 3 admitted, 12 discharged
Ilocos Region – 2 admitted, 9 discharged
Bicol Region – 3 admitted, 6 discharged
Soccsksargen – 1 admitted, 2 discharged
Caraga– 0 admitted, 3 discharged
BARMM – 0 admitted, 1 discharged  /  Stacy Ang

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