THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said eight more Filipinos onboard a cruise ship in Japan have been found positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of affected Filipinos to 35.
All eight new cases involved crew members of the MV Diamond Princess, a cruise ship under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan. The quarantine will end on February 19, 2020.
In a statement, the DFA said all affected Filipinos are undergoing treatment in hospitals in Japan.
The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo "constantly communicates with all patients currently confined in Japanese hospitals to ensure their well-being and to provide assistance."
"The Japanese government is scheduled to announce today the disembarkation procedures for the end of the ship’s quarantine period," the agency said in its statement.
"As such, the Embassy is coordinating with all relevant Philippine and Japanese government agencies and is meeting with senior management representatives of Princess Cruises to ensure an orderly and safe repatriation of Filipinos once they clear the Japanese quarantine requirements," the DFA added.
Japanese health authorities said Tuesday they have confirmed 88 more cases of the new virus on the cruise ship.
The new cases bring the total coronavirus cases on the Diamond Princess to 542, by far the largest outside China.
The Japanese government has repeatedly defended the effectiveness of the quarantine and bristled against criticism that the ship became a virus incubator instead of a quarantine facility. (SunStar Philippines with AP)