Plane carrying first batch of Filipinos from virus-hit Japan cruise ship on way back to PH – DFA
Robie de Guzman • February 25, 2020 • 404
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.
The number of global confirmed infections of COVID-19 continued climbing to 11,327,790 cases, while the deaths caused by the virus rose to 532,340 as of 18:01 CEST, Monday, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO).
India has overtaken Russia to become the world’s third-worst affected nation in terms of infections.
India’s federal health ministry Monday morning said 425 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 24,248 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 19,693 and total cases to 697,413.
According to ministry officials, so far 424,433 people have been discharged from hospital after showing improvement.
Presently the country has entered the “Unlock 2.0” phase, though restrictions remain in full force inside the COVID-19 containment zones.
The country on Monday reopened a total of 3,691 tourist attractions after they were ordered to close three months ago.
On Friday the country’s civil aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced commercial international flights to and from India shall remain suspended until July 31.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States topped 130,000 on Monday, reaching 130,248 as of 23:33 GMT, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
A total of 2,931,142 cases have been reported in the country, an increase of over 55,000 from Sunday, according to the CSSE.
The state of New York reported the most cases and the highest death toll in the country, standing at 397,649 and 32,219, respectively. Other states with over 100,000 cases include California, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Arizona, the CSSE data showed.
According to the Texas Health and Human Services, as of Monday, 200,557 confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported in the state, an increase of 5,318 from Sunday. The death toll reached 2,655.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. state of Arizona exceeded 100,000 to reach 101, 441 on Monday, with 3,352 new cases in 24 hours, the state’s Department of Health Services said.
Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 65,000 on Monday after 620 more patients died in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 65,487, the Ministry of Health said.
The total number of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the start of the outbreak rose to 1,623,284, following a daily surge of 20,229 cases.
Some 927,292 patients have recovered from the disease, the ministry said.
The state of Sao Paulo, the country’s most populated, is also the hardest hit by the pandemic, with 323,070 cases and 16,134 deaths, followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 121,879 cases and 10,698 deaths.
Russia recorded 6,611 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 687,862, the country’s coronavirus response center said in a statement Monday.
The death toll rose by 135 to 10,296, while 454,329 people have recovered, said the statement.
By Monday, Russia has conducted over 21.3 million tests.
Also by Monday, Germany had confirmed about 196,554 COVID-19 infections, increasing by 219 from the previous day, while deaths rose by four to stand at 9,016, according to a report from Robert Koch Institute.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejects the idea of backing away from the face mask requirement in the country’s shops, government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said Monday.
“Wherever the minimum distance cannot be guaranteed in public life, masks are an important and, from today’s perspective, still indispensable means,” stressed Seibert. The wearing of masks is still necessary in order to “keep the number of infections low and to protect other people and ourselves
The Tokyo metropolitan government confirmed 102 new daily COVID-19 cases in the capital on Monday, marking the fifth successive day infections have topped 100 in Tokyo amid a prolonged resurgence of cases.
Of the 102 new cases, the trend of younger people being infected has continued, the metropolitan government said, with 72 new infections being those in their 20s and 30s, or about 70 percent of the total.
Of the newly confirmed cases in the city of 14 million, 42 have no known infection route, with 35 of the cases connected to nighttime entertainment establishments in downtown districts in Tokyo.
As clusters of infections continue in such districts, the Tokyo metropolitan government said Monday that 31 of the new cases were connected to such a nightspot in a part of the city’s Shinjuku district.
The Tokyo metropolitan government has urged people to pay serious attention to such virus-hit downtown areas and preventative measures, or lack thereof, against the spread of the pneumonia-carrying virus being taken by establishments located there.
It has also urged Tokyo residents to refrain from making unnecessary trips across prefectural borders.
Tokyo’s cumulative COVID-19 cases have now reached 6,867, the highest among Japan’s 47 prefectures, according to the latest official figures Monday evening, accounting for roughly one-third of Japan’s total cases.
Nationwide, cases increased by 174 on Monday, bringing Japan’s cumulative total to 19,996, not including COVID-19 cases connected to a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama.
Japan’s death toll from the virus stands at 991 people, according to the latest figures Monday evening from the health ministry and local authorities.
Australia’s coronavirus death toll has increased for the first time in about 10 days to 106.
Authorities in Victoria on Monday revealed that two men, one in his 90s and the other in his 60s, died from COVID-19 in hospital on Sunday and Monday respectively, taking the state’s death toll to 22.
Michael Kidd, the Australian government deputy chief medical officer, said in an update on Monday that there have been 140 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia in the last 24 hours.
Of the new cases, 127 were in Victoria. And this is the state’s biggest daily increase, according to local media.
In response to the spike in cases, New South Wales (NSW) has joined other states in closing its borders to Victoria. (Reuters)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told a meeting of the politburo of the ruling Workers Party the North had stopped the novel coronavirus from making inroads in the country, state news agency KCNA said on Friday (July 3).
“We have thoroughly prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable anti-epidemic situation despite the worldwide health crisis, which is a shining success achieved,” Kim Jong Un said in a statement carried by KCNA.
He warned against self-complacency or relaxation in the anti-epidemic effort and urged North Koreans to maintain “maximum alert,” KCNA said in a statement.
While the reclusive country has not confirmed any infections, its public health ministry has reported all 922 people checked so far have tested negative. Hundreds of people, mostly cargo handlers at seaports and land borders, are regularly quarantined for monitoring.
A politburo meeting on Thursday (July 2) also touched on the construction of the Pyongyang General Hospital, underway in the capital. Kim expressed satisfaction with the project and thanked the builders for making headway under unfavorable conditions. (Reuters)
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