MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has given its nod on the repatriation plan for all Filipino passengers and crew of M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, Malacañang said on Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the announcement as he noted that around 497 Filipinos onboard cruise ship are set to arrive next week at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga via two chartered flights from the Haneda Airport.
“The Palace confirms that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved the repatriation plan in favor of Filipinos aboard the M/V Diamond Princess docked in Yokohama, Japan earlier today, February 21, at the Department of Health – Central Office,” Panelo said in a press statement.
Over 500 Filipinos on board M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship have been quarantined due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which originates from Wuhan, China.
To date, around 41 Filipinos have been admitted in various hospitals in Tokyo after they were tested positive for Covid-19, the Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed.
Earlier Friday, the DOH said Filipinos onboard the cruise ship will be repatriated on Saturday.
Panelo said prospective Filipino repatriates should have completed a 14-day quarantine period in Japan and have secured clearance certificates from the Tokyo’s Ministry of Health before their embarkation for their return to the country.
He ensured that the DOH, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Bureau of Immigration are already preparing to execute the repatriation plan.
He added that the said government agencies are set to provide support and assistance for the safety of the repatriates.
Panelo also guaranteed the protection of individuals who are tasked to render aid for the repatriation.
“Upon arrival, any repatriate who will manifest symptoms of the coronavirus disease shall be brought immediately to the nearest hospital that may be referred by the Department of Health,” he said.
Panelo said asymptomatic repatriates would be securely transported to the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City to once again undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
He reiterated that the government is on top of the situation to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“The Office of the President also assures the public that all precautionary measures and safety protocols are in place for the seamless repatriation of our countrymen from Japan,” Panelo said.
The Department of Transportation is expected to shoulder the transportation of repatriates, while the OWWA is set to provide them livelihood packages. (PNA)