Filipino sailor in Japan cruise ship cleared of COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2020 03:26 PM

The cruise ship Diamond Princess, where dozens of passengers tested positive for coronavirus, is seen at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 10, 2020. Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters/File

MANILA - A Filipino sailor who had contracted the novel coronavirus aboard a cruise ship moored off Japan's coast has been cleared of the disease, the Philippine Embassy in Japan said Wednesday.

The Filipino crew member of Diamond Princess has been given a clean bill of health and is scheduled to be discharged from hospital, the embassy added.

The sailor was then the first known case of a Filipino infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

As of Wednesday, 40 other Filipino crew members of the Carnival Corp-operated cruise liner are recuperating in medical facilities around Tokyo after catching the flu-like disease, which health authorities said can be transmitted between humans through close contact or droplets.

"The embassy is in touch with those who have been admitted to hospitals in order to ensure their well-being and to provide them any assistance they need," the embassy said.

As the quarantine came to an end on Wednesday, the embassy, in coordination with the Japanese Government and the management of Princess Cruises, is threshing out details on the repatriation of the Filipino crew and passengers on board the Diamond Princess.

Filipino passengers cleared for disembarkation from the vessel will be repatriated at the soonest possible time, the embassy said.

Filipino crew members undergoing treatment have to be cleared of the disease first before they could return to the Philippines, it added.

At least 542 people on board the ship, which carries more than 3,700 guests and crew members, had tested positive for COVID-19.

The ship was kept in quarantine starting Feb. 3 after a passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong, was found to be infected with the virus.

Hundreds are expected to disembark the ship in the coming days after testing negative for COVID-19 and completing the 14-day mandatory quarantine.