DFA repatriates 444 Filipinos onboard COVID-hit cruise ship in USA

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has repatriated 444 Filipinos who were onboard the Coronavirus Disease 2019-stricken MV Grand Princess cruise ship in San Francisco, United States.

The 444 asymptomatic Filipinos, comprised of 438 crew members and six passengers, arrived in the Philippines on Monday.

The repatriates were on a chartered flight which departed from San Francisco International Airport on March 14, 9PM and landed at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Airbase, Pampanga on March 16, 2:15AM.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, the repatriates were transported on chartered buses to the Athletes' Village in New Clark City for the 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Meantime, 78 Filipino crew members volunteered to remain onboard the ship to be part of the essential manning.

Further, 13 Filipino crew members who are positive of the virus stayed in the United States for treatment.

Meanwhile, three Filipino guests stayed in the United States as they are California residents.

The DFA, through the Philippine consulate General in San Francisco in coordination with Carnival Corporation, the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions, and the California Governor's Office, facilitated the repatriation.