Locsin orders immediate repatriation of Filipinos on quarantined cruise ship in Japan
Robie de Guzman • February 19, 2020 • 354
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.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) advised the public to defer visits to its Consular Office in NCR Northeast (Ali Mall Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City) as it is closed on Wednesday (July 15).
The temporary closure is to give way for the disinfection of the office premises and implementation of other preventive measures to manage and prevent risks against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Consular Office will resume its operations the following day, Thursday, 16 July.
Affected applicants who have prior appointments and schedules today will be accommodated until August 14 during regular office hours.
The DFA requests the public’s understanding and cooperation as the country continues to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japan’s annual defense review accuses China of pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspects Beijing of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19.
“We’ve written some details about China’s persistent moves to attempt to alter the status quo surrounding the Senkaku Islands which is our territory,” said Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday (July 14).
The white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Tuesday described “relentless” intrusions in waters around a group of islets claimed by both nations in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
In the South China Sea, it said Beijing was asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands, that forced countries distracted by the coronavirus outbreak to respond.
Japan sees China as a longer-term and more serious threat than nuclear-armed North Korea. Beijing now spends four times as much as Tokyo on defence as it builds a large modern military. (Reuters)
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday (July 13) the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus, even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.
The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.
“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike told Reuters in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.
Tokyo’s jump in COVID-19 cases comes as Abe’s government prepares to launch a campaign to promote domestic tourism, but that has raised concern about spreading the virus outside the capital. (Reuters)
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