Six Filipinos on quarantined cruise ship in US test positive for COVID-19

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 11) — The Health Department confirmed Wednesday that six Filipinos on MV Grand Princess, a cruise ship quarantined held off in the United States have contracted COVID-19.

They are among the 96 Filipinos who have acquired the viral disease caused by a new coronavirus outside of the Philippines, according to the Health Department.

Government officials said they are still planning for the repatriation of the Filipinos on the cruise ship, where around 529 Filipino crew members and nine Filipino passengers are on board.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. said Tuesday that local officials just need the US government to give them time to find a landing field for the plane that will fetch the Filipinos from the ship.

Grand Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, had been held off California after two passengers tested positive for the virus, with one of them dying.

Most of the Filipinos abroad who had contracted COVID-19 were on board another cruise ship — the MV Princess Diamond, also operated by Princess Cruises, saw 80 Filipinos on board test positive for the new virus.

Five Filipinos in Hong Kong, three in Singapore and two in the United Arab Emirates have also contracted the virus, according to the Health Department.

Of the Filipinos abroad with COVID-19, 64 have recovered. Sixty-two of them were passengers on Diamond Princess, while a Filipino in Hong Kong and another in Singapore have also been cleared of the disease.

The number of people who had contracted COVID-19 in the Philippines has reached 49 as of Wednesday, with the Health Department confirming 16 new cases of the viral disease.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed more than 4,200 people, mostly in China, since the outbreak began in Wuhan City in Hubei province in December last year. It has infected over 118,000 people globally.

According to the World Health Organization, the most commonly reported symptoms are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. WHO said 8 in 10, or around 80 percent, of infected patients experience "mild illness" and eventually recover from COVID-19. Some 14 percent experience severe illness while 5 percent were critically ill, the WHO said.

To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.