MANILA, Philippines – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has ordered the immediate repatriation of Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Locsin announced he has ordered the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, Japan to repatriate Filipinos on the ship after its passengers who tested negative for novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were allowed to disembark after the 14-day quarantine period.
“I have ordered our Tokyo Embassy to immediately repatriate our people in the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohoma Japan. It’s our duty to take care of our Overseas Filipinos wherever they are. I want them home now!” he said.
As of Wednesday, February 19, 41 Filipino crew members of the ship were found positive for COVID-19. Like other people on the ship confirmed to be infected with the virus, the Filipinos were brought to hospitals in Japan to undergo treatment.
The DFA earlier said there are 531 Filipino crew members and seven passengers aboard the quarantined cruise ship. Around 400 of them have expressed their desire to be repatriated to the Philippines.
The department said they have been coordinating with Japanese authorities and the operator of the vessel to ensure that everything would be smooth once the repatriation process begins.