Philippines will repatriate 480 citizens from coronavirus-hit ship

A passenger having her temperature checked after she disembarked the Diamond Princess cruise ship at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, Japan, on Feb 21, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) - The Philippines will fly back on Sunday (Feb 23) as many as 480 citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan hit by the novel coronavirus, the South-east Asian nation's Health Department said on Friday.

Filipino crew members and passengers are being tested in Japan, and only those who test negative will be repatriated, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a televised briefing. They will be taken to a quarantine facility north of Manila, she said.

At least 636 of the ship's 3,700 passengers and crew members have been infected by the virus, 44 of those are Filipinos, the Philippine health official said.

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