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13 Filipino crew members of US MV Grand Princess cruise ship positive for COVID-19

13 Filipino crew members of US cruise ship positive for COVID-19
Dona Z. Pazzibugan - March 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Thirteen of the 538 Filipinos onboard the MV Grand Princess cruise ship in California have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) disclosed this after most of the ship’s 3,500 passengers and crew disembarked on Sunday.

The 13 crew members were taken to health facilities in the United States while 444 Filipinos were repatriated by the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco on Sunday after they passed health screening and did not show flu-like symptoms.

The 444 Filipinos, comprised of 438 crew members and six passengers, were taken by bus to the San Francisco airport where they boarded a chartered flight to the Philippines.

They are expected to arrive in Clark Airbase in Pampanga early Monday. They will then undergo a 14-day quarantine at the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City like earlier repatriates from China’s Wuhan City where the outbreak originated, and from the MV Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

The DFA said 78 Filipino crew members volunteered to stay behind to maintain the ship while three Filipinos did not avail of the repatriation since they were California residents.

The MV Grand Princess was finally allowed to dock at the Port of Oakland on Tuesday after spending days in San Francisco Bay due to reports that 21 out of the 3,500 people on board tested positive for the virus.