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Pinoy Abroad

Palace: 497 Filipinos on Diamond Princess repatriated on Sunday

Almost 500 Filipinos from the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored in Japan will be repatriated to the Philippines on Sunday, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said 497 Filipinos had confirmed their intention to be flown to the Philippines over the weekend.

"As of date, there are 497 Filipinos who are to be repatriated to the Philippines. They are expected to arrive early next week at the Clark International Airport through two chartered flights from the Haneda Airport," Panelo said in a statement.

The repatriates will be transferred to the Athlete's Village in New Clark City to undergo another 14-day quarantine.

However, should a repatriate manifest symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 upon arrival to the country, they will be immediately brought to the nearest hospital.

"The Office of the President also assures the public that all precautionary measures and safety protocols are in place for the seamless repatriation of our countrymen from Japan," Panelo said.

According to the Department of Health, 16 hospitals across the country have volunteered to send 10 teams each to aid in the quarantine of the repatriates

A total of 538 Filipinos are aboard the Diamond Princess.

Of the number, 41 Filipinos are confirmed to be positive for COVID-19.

More than 600 people have been infected with the virus.

The cruise ship and the 3,711 passengers on board were placed under quarantine on February 3 after a former passenger tested positive for the virus.

Its passengers began disembarking on Wednesday after the 14-day quarantine period.

Residents in Capas, Tarlac on Friday lamented the second batch of repatriated Filipinos who will be quarantined at the New Clark City (NCC) this Sunday due to the coronavirus disease 2019.

Lamberto Dayrit, a resident of Sitio Kamatis, reiterated the local government's initial statement that only one batch of repatriated Filipinos will be accepted at the NCC.

"Sabi nila, ito na ang una at huli na darating na may virus dito sa lugar natin," Dayrit said in JP Soriano's Friday report on 24 Oras.

The first batch to be quarantined were Filipinos repatriated from coronavirus-hit Wuhan and Hubei Province in China.

Another resident said that his livelihood had been affected by the quarantine.

"Wala na akong hanap-buhay, eh! Mayroon namang tinatawag na Scarborough Island, diba? Bakit hindi nila doon dalhin? Natatakot yung tao. Sino pa ba'ng magre-rent diyan?" Rufu Cabigting said. —NB, GMA News