Filipino evacuees from cruise ship back in PH, to undergo quarantine

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — Over 400 Filipinos on board the coronavirus-hit MV Grand Princess arrived in the Philippines early Monday.

Six Filipino passengers and 438 crew members landed at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga via a chartered flight from San Francisco International Airport.

Upon disembarkation from the docked cruise ship, the repatriates all underwent health screening by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which included thermal scanning and other diagnostics, to find out if they had symptoms of the coronavirus disease or COVID-19. As a matter of protocol, only those who were asymptomatic were allowed to board the buses that drove them to San Francisco International Airport.

Upon landing at Clark, all the Filipino repatriates were transported to the Athletes' Village in New Clark City for the 14-day quarantine period. The group is the third batch of repatriates that the DFA brought home from COVID-19 affected areas — the first being the Filipinos from the coronavirus epicenter in Wuhan, China and the second batch from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

A total of 78 Filipino crew members volunteered to remain onboard the Grand Princess to be part of the essential manning of the ship. Three Filipino guests disembarked and stayed in the US as they are California residents.

Thirteen Filipino crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 stayed in the US and were brought to a care facility for treatment. As of March 13, a total of 21 people tested positive for the infection.