By Charmaine A. Tadalan and Gillian M. Cortez
ANOTHER Filipino has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the second infected Filipino and the 11th in the whole Arab country.
The 34-year-old Filipino is in “stable condition,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement at the weekend, citing the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention.
The outbreak has killed about 2,400 people and sickened about 77,000 more, mostly in China.
The first Filipino to be infected in the UAE had been transferred to another medical facility and was being closely monitored, the agency said. The condition of the 43-year-old Filipino was “not improving.”
Meanwhile, the Kyodo News Agency reported that 23 passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship had not been tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
“This may be why Japan offered to host the Filipino crew before their repatriation for testing (completed but not all the results are in),” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said in a social media post on Sunday.
“Those found positive have been hospitalized,” he said, adding that some Filipinos from the ship who had chosen to come home would start arriving on Feb. 25.
DFA said more than 400 crew members and passengers who will arrive this week will be taken to the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City upon arrival.
They will be “under the full medical attention of health professionals from the Department of Health,” it said in a separate statement at the weekend.
DFA, through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, was coordinating with the Japanese government to finalize the details of their return.
The agency was working with the Japan Self Defense Forces for the land transfer from the Yokohama Port to Haneda, where the Filipinos will board the plane.
In its last report, DFA said there were 49 confirmed cases of Filipinos with the deadly virus, two of whom had been discharged from the hospital.
Five more were expected to be released in the coming week.
Also yesterday, the Department of Health said 131 people had been admitted to hospitals and were under investigation for the virus.
It said 474 people had been discharged from hospitals. More than 600 people have been investigated for the deadly virus, it added.
Only three have tested positive for the virus, all Chinese nationals from Wuhan City, where the virus was first detected.
Two patients had been discharged, while another died of severe pneumonia.
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) cited the need for a manual on safety and health protocol for seafarers.
“Our seafarers on board passenger and cargo vessels are extensively trained to manage and respond to piracy, fire onboard, sea storms and man overboard,” TUCP President and TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza said in a statement.
“There’s an immediate need for our seamen and seawomen to be trained and equipped with a standard protocol and procedures in dealing with and responding to threats from corona virus and other infectious diseases,” he added.