DoH assures safety of civilians, Pinoys from cruise ship

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FILIPINOS coming home from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Yokohama will be strictly monitored, the Department of Health (DoH) said on Monday.

Under the repatriation plan, only those who have tested negative for coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) would be allowed to return, it said in a statement.

“DoH and its partners will be working double hard to ensure the safety and welfare of the quarantined patients, as well as civilians in the vicinity,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in the statement.

Out of 538 Filipinos aboard the M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship, 59 had tested positive and were confined in various hospitals in Japan. More than 400 were not showing symptoms and would be repatriated, the agency said.

They will be checked for symptoms of respiratory illness before they are allowed to disembark the ship, take the bus to the airport and board a plane to the Philippines.

While on board the plane, passengers will be regularly monitored and those who will show symptoms of respiratory illness will be separated in an area of the plane.

Upon arrival at the Clark International Airport, another screening will be conducted. Those who will show signs or symptoms of respiratory illness will be brought to a hospital, while the rest will be taken to the quarantine facility at New Clark City, in Capas, Tarlac for a 14-day quarantine.

Twenty medical teams from DoH hospitals will supervise the 14-day quarantine procedure. Patients will be checked twice a day, it said.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said the Filipinos will be repatriated using two carriers. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas