THE government will bring home more than 400 Filipinos aboard the MV Grand Princess cruise ship docked in Oakland, California, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Sunday.

The agency said 438 crew members and six passengers left the cruise ship on Saturday evening and had been transferred to the San Francisco airport for their flight back home.

Only 444 Filipinos availed themselves of the repatriation offer. Thirteen had tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), while 78 crew members stayed put to man the vessel. Three passengers who were residents of California also stayed behind.

Those who got infected had been confined in health facilities in the United States, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Martin R. Meñez told reporters in a teleconference.

Repatriates had been screened by the US Department of Health and Human Services and were cleared of the symptoms, he said.

The Filipinos were expected to arrive at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Airbase, Pampanga province. They will be transferred, through chartered buses, to the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City, where they will undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Last month, DFA brought home about 400 Filipinos from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama. — Charmaine A. Tadalan