MANILA, Philippines – The first Filipino reported to have contracted the novel coronavirus has recovered from the infection, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday, February 19.
He is a crew member of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which had been quarantined at the port of Yokohama, Japan, for 14 days as the virus infected more than 500 passengers and crew while onboard.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs, together with the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, is pleased to announce that the first Filipino crew member who tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the hospital on February 5 has been successfully treated and is scheduled to be discharged today, February 19,” the DFA said in a statement.
“COVID-19” is the term for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Forty other Filipino crew members of the Diamond Princess cruise ship are being treated for the novel coronavirus in hospitals in and near the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Six of them were diagnosed earlier on Wednesday.
The 14-day quarantine imposed on the ship's passengers ended on Wednesday, and authorities facilitated the disembarkation of some 500 passengers who tested negative for the virus.
There were a total of 538 Filipinos onboard the ship, including those who had tested positive for the virus.
The Philippine Embassy in Japan is working with Japanese authorities and the management of Princess Cruises “to finalize the details, logistics, and schedule of the repatriation” of the ship’s Filipino crew members and passengers. They will be flown home “at the soonest possible time,” the DFA said.
The DFA earlier on Wednesday ordered the “immediate repatriation” of Filipinos who were on the Diamond Princess.
As of Wednesday, the COVID-19 global death toll has reached 2,000 – 5 of the deaths outside China. There were more than 74,000 confirmed cases in China alone, and hundreds more reported in two dozen countries.
In the Philippines, there have been 3 confirmed cases – one death and two recoveries of Chinese tourists. A total of 527 possible cases are currently under investigation. – Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.