Iranian foreign minister to secure safety of Filipinos in Iran amid tension

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 16, 2020   •   330

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in talks with Filipino officials on Tuesday (January 14) to assure the safety of Filipinos in Iran.

Philippine Ambassador to Iran Wilfredo C. Santos, arranged and facilitated talks between Presidential Adviser for Overseas Filipino Workers (PAOFW) Secretary Abdullah Mama-o and the Iranian Foreign Minister to discuss the safety of Filipinos amid the tension between the United States and Iran.

The talks also aims to “ensure their safe passage in the event of worsening tensions and armed confrontation.”

Meanwhile, the first batch of repatriated Filipinos from Iraq arrived on Wednesday (January 15).

“The first batch of Filipinos (11 adults and 2 children) have been successfully repatriated from Baghdad and Erbil in Iraq,” according to the statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).—AAC

DOH: Repatriated Filipinos from Japan cruise ship can still test positive for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) is still not dismissing the possibility that the repatriated Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship might still test positive for COVID-19.

The Health department said the 445 Filipino repatriates will undergo the 14-day quarantine period.

Health experts are still studying why some individuals tested positive for COVID-19 despite not showing any symptoms.

The DOH said the repatriating Filipinos underwent five screening assessments in Japan before they were taken to the quarantine facility in Capas, Tarlac.

Meanwhile, the DOH also clarified that the 10 Filipino crew members who recovered from COVID-19 are not among the repatriated Filipinos. However, when they return to the Philippines they will still undergo the quarantine process.

There are currently 101 patients under investigation for COVID-19 in the country.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

PH sends two chartered planes to bring home Filipinos from virus-hit Japan cruise ship

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Two planes of flag-carrier Philippine Airlines chartered by the government are on its way to Japan to pick up over 400 Filipinos who disembarked from the coronavirus-hit M/V Diamond Princess.

In a Twitter post, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said the first of two flights carrying the department’s rapid response team has left the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) around 11 a.m. Tuesday and is expected to land at Haneda Airport at 4:27 p.m.

In a separate tweet, the DFA said the second chartered flight for the repatriation is also ready to take off. Both flights are expected to carry back home more than 400 Filipinos from the virus-hit cruise ship.

Officials from the DFA and the Department of Health (DOH) are now at the Yokohama port for the disembarkation of the Filipino crew aboard the cruise ship, based on photos posted on DFA’s Twitter account.

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 Yokohama near Tokyo, was placed on 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 DFA said the chartered flights are expected to return to Manila Tuesday night.

The repatriated Filipinos will then be brought to a facility at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Filipinos infected with COVID-19 from Japan cruise ship rises to 80

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The number of Filipinos who contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after staying aboard the M/V Diamond Princess in Japan has climbed to 80 on Tuesday, authorities said.

“Per Tokyo PE, 80 Filipinos from the Diamond Princess cruise have so far tested positive for Covid-19,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said in a Twitter post.

“10 have since been discharged w/ clean bill of health. Remaining Filipino crew for repatriation today have all tested negative,” he added.

In a separate media interview, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that most of the Filipinos found to be infected with the virus have been placed under isolation and treatment in Japanese hospitals.

Philippine authorities are set to repatriate Tuesday more than 400 Filipinos from the cruise ship.

Duque assured that they will be tested first to make sure that no one with an illness will come along the flight.

Those who will manifest symptoms will not be allowed to board the aircraft based on Japan’s quarantine laws.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they will be brought to a facility at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said that its personnel are now at the Yohohama Port for the disembarkation of the Filipino crew.

A total of 538 Filipinos – 531 crew members and seven passengers – were aboard the cruise ship when it was placed on quarantine after one of its passengers tested positive for novel coronavirus disease earlier this month.

The DFA, however, said that not all Filipino crew members will be able to return home as some of them will be needed to stay behind to help in the ship’s continued operation and maintenance.

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