Plane carrying first batch of Filipinos from virus-hit Japan cruise ship on way back to PH – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2020   •   281

MANILA, Philippines – The first batch of Filipinos repatriated from the novel coronavirus-hit M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship has taken off Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday.

In a Twitter post, the DFA said the first Philippine Airlines chartered flight is expected to arrive in Clark International Airport in Pampanga before 9 p.m.

In a separate tweet, DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said 309 Filipinos from the cruise ship have boarded the first flight.

Around 143 more Filipinos, including two DFA officers and five medics from the Department of Health (DOH), have boarded the second flight.

Dulay said Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces assisted in the boarding procedures of Filipinos.

The DFA said the second plane is expected to arrive home sometime before midnight.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, the Filipino repatriates will be transported to a facility in the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.

A total of 538 Filipinos – 531 crew members and seven passengers – were aboard the cruise ship. Eighty of them so far have been found to be infected with the virus.

The cruise ship, moored off the Japanese coast in Yohohama near Tokyo, was placed on a quarantine after one of its passengers tested positive of the novel coronavirus disease.

The vessel, which carried 3,700 passengers and crew, reported over 690 confirmed cases of virus infection with three deaths.

Spain still faces difficult time despite hopeful signs

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Spain still faces a difficult time in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), despite hopeful signs, the country’s Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

Spain’s health ministry reported on Thursday afternoon that the coronavirus cases in the country reached 110,238 and the death toll hit 10,003.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said despite the grim figures, the curve of contagion has shown signs of reaching the peak. But he also warned of uneasy time in the coming weeks.

To avoid medical system breakdown, Spain has to further reduce hospitalized patients and to ensure that all symptomatic residents can get tested and treated.

The Spanish government is beefing up efforts to purchase and distribute medical supplies. Meanwhile, the country is also speeding up the production of equipment such as respirators.

Spain’s deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra said that the crux for Spain’s epidemic control is its beds in intensive care units (ICU).

Currently, Spain has about 6,000 ICU beds, but has nearly 7,000 COVID-19 patients.

“Spain has 10 ICU beds for every 100,000 people, while Germany has 29 ICU beds for every 100,000 people and Italy has 13 ICU beds for every 100,000 people. This may be one of the factors that affect the death rate,” said Carlos Chaccour, a medical investigator from Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal. (Reuters)

2 more Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 in South Korea

Marje Pelayo   •   April 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, confirms two more Filipino nationals have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number to three.

The first Filipino COVID-19 case was confirmed on March 20 while the two new cases, who are family members of the first patient, were confirmed positive for the disease on April 1.

They were tested twice for the disease with their second test yielding positive results.

They are now confined in isolation.

The Embassy assures close coordination with the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) and local health authorities and stands ready to provide assistance to the COVID-19 positive Filipino nationals as needed.

South Korea ranks 15th among countries in the world with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, based on the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.

The three Filipinos are now among the 9,976 COVID-19 cases in South Korea.

As of this posting, the number of fatality in the country is at 169 while 5,828 others have recovered.

PH repatriates 123 Filipino sailors from Spain amid COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   April 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has repatriated a total of 123 Filipino seafarers from Spain amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The DFA said the repatriates arrived in Manila on Thursday, April 2.

The group is composed of 64 crew members of Marella Celebration and 59 staff of MV World Odyssey.

They are the fourth batch of Filipino sailors to be repatriated by the Philippine government in coordination with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, other government offices and local manning agencies.

The DFA earlier welcomed home 454 crew from Norwegian Dawn and Star and another 446 crew members of Armonia, Meraviglia, Seaside and Divina cruise ships from Miami, Florida.

Another 79 seafarers from Carnival Pride, Carnival Panorama, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Breeze, and MS World Odyssey were also repatriated.

The DFA said all repatriated seafarers will undergo a mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine monitored by the Department of Health and the Bureau of Quarantine.


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