444 Filipinos in Grand Princess cruise ship to come home

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Filipinos on the quarantined cruise ship MV Grand Princess will be brought home to the Philippines on Sunday, March 15. 

US authorities quarantined the cruise ship off Oakland, California, after positive cases of coronavirus were recorded among those onboard.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said a total of 444 Filipinos – 438 crew members and 6 passengers – will be repatriated from the ship currently docked in Oakland, California.

They did not display symptoms of the coronavirus, said the DFA.

The Department if Foreign Affairs says 444 Filipinos (438 crew members and 6 passengers) of the MV Grand Princess docked in the Port of Oakland in California, USA are set to be repatriated today, March 15, 2020 @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/kisMwbgwNv — Sofia Tomacruz (@sofiatomacruz) March 15, 2020 

The repatriates will be arriving via chartered plane at the Haribon Hangar in the Clark Airbase in Pampanga, said the DFA. They will arrive in the country early Monday morning, March 16.

They will then board chartered buses to the Athletes' Village in New Clark City, where they will be under a 14-day quarantine supervised by the Department of Health.

DFA: Filipino repatriates departed San Francisco via a chartered flight on March 14, around 9pm Pacific Time and will arrive in Clark Airbase early morning on March 16. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/krcOUcreV5 — Sofia Tomacruz (@sofiatomacruz) March 15, 2020

The 444 Filipinos went through health screening by the US Department of Health and Human Services when they disembarked MV Grand Princess. 

The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco handled the repatriation process in the US, the DFA said.

Meanwhile, 94 Filipinos onboard MV Grand Princess will remain in the US for now. Of this number, 78 are crew members who opted to be part of the ship's minimum safe manning and minimum operational manning teams.

Thirteen have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. They were put in health facilities in the US, said the DFA. (The DFA earlier reported that the 91 Filipinos were all Grand Princess crew members.) The remaining 3 passengers are California residents who stayed behind. – with reports from Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler.com