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881 Pinoy crewmen of stricken cruise ships arrive from US

/ 05:36 AM April 02, 2020

A total of 881 Filipino crew members from several COVID-19-affected cruise ships were brought home on Wednesday from the United States.

The latest batch of repatriated seafarers, who were told to quarantine themselves for 14 days in a facility designated by the Department of Health’s Bureau of Quarantine, were from the Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Encore (445 crew members), and the Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa (436 crew members).

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Some 4,000 more crew members of cruise ships grounded by the pandemic will arrive in the next few days, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA on Sunday repatriated 370 Filipino seafarers from three cruise ships docked in Italy: 248 from MV Costa Luminosa in Milan, and 122 others from MV Grandiosa and MV Opera docked in Rome.

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Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Cacdac condemned manning agencies that had abandoned seafarers in the stranded cruise ships.

“We will help our dear seafarers but make no mistake, we will start naming and shaming these manning agencies that chose to look the other way,” Cacdac tweeted on Wednesday.

As of March 31, nine Filipinos overseas have died from the new respiratory illness while 242 other COVID-19-positive Filipinos are undergoing treatment.

According to the DFA, six have died in Europe, one in Asia, one in the Middle East and one in the Americas.

Meanwhile, 117 virus-infected Filipinos abroad have recovered. These include the 80 crew members of the MV Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan in February.

The last virus-positive Filipino crew member was discharged from a Japan hospital on March 31, the Philippine Embassy in Japan said.

“All the Filipino crew of Diamond Princess who were admitted to hospitals have already been successfully treated, discharged and repatriated as of March 31,” Philippine Embassy to Tokyo Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre Bolivar said.

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Among the estimated 325,000 Filipinos in Japan, two were confirmed to have COVID-19 and are being treated in hospitals, according to Philippine Ambassador Jose Laurel V.

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