Over 100 Filipino crewmen of quarantined cruise ship nix repatriation
MANILA, Philippines — Around 100 Filipinos crewmen of the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan have opted to remain on board despite government efforts to repatriate them.
This was revealed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday as the 14-day isolation of the passengers and crew of the vessel ends Wednesday.
The Philippine Embassy in Japan earlier bared that it is preparing to repatriate a total of 538 Filipinos from the cruise ship.
“Hindi naman daw lahat gusto magpa-repatriate. May gusto manatili na lang kasi baka mawalan ng trabaho,” Duque said in an interview on Radyo INQUIRER.
(Not all of the Filipinos want to be repatriated. Some want to stay because they could lose their jobs.)
“Mga 100 mahigit ang gustong manatili, ayaw magparepatriate. Rerespetuhin natin ‘yung kanilang desisyon,” he added.
(More than 100 Filipinos want to stay. We will respect their decision.)
The details of the repatriation were discussed during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Monday afternoon.
Duque said that the indicative date of repatriation is set on March 5.
As of Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that a total of 35 Filipinos aboard the cruise ship tested positive for 2019 coronavirus diseases (COVID-19).
All of them are crew members.
Only seven Filipinos are passengers on the cruise ship.
COVID-19-infected Filipinos were already brought to hospitals in Japan for treatment.
The ship was quarantined on February 6, days after docking in Yokohama when authorities learned that a former passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong in January tested positive for the virus.
Once they arrive in the Philippines, the Filipinos to be repatriated from the ship will again be placed under quarantine for 14 days as a precaution against the spread of the new virus in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) earlier said.
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