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PH gov’t sends packages to Filipinos quarantined on Japan onboard Diamond Princess 

The Philippine government extends help to the 538 Filipinos who are still in quarantine on Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The care packages provided are the initial assistance of the Philippine government. It includes toiletries and non-medical supplies which were sent and delivered through the Japanese government. Also, the Philippine Embassy is in constant communication with them together with medical authorities.

Out of 538 Filipinos onboard, exactly 27 are confirmed to be affected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The first case of this virus was also confirmed on board the Diamond Princess. The said cruise ship is still in quarantine since February 5. It was docked at the port of Yokohama near Tokyo following the novel coronavirus outbreak.

According to Eduardo Meñez, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary, the Philippine government would shoulder the extra costs of the medical expenses of the infected Filipinos if the need arises. For now, it is not yet clear to whom the medical expenses will be shouldered. The initial case maybe the Japanese government. But the employer will also have some responsibility for paying for it. If the final analysis the government needs to pay, then the government will step up accordingly. Eduardo Meñez gave an assurance regarding this issue. The government will also aid the fellow-Filipino passengers who would want to be repatriated from the cruise ship.

The technical working group of the inter-agency task force (IATF) who is in charge of handling the novel coronavirus threat is set to finalize its recommended response and actions to the quarantined cruise ship passengers. The personnel involved will then present their findings and recommendations during the high-level IATF meeting that is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18.

To date, the Department of Health in the Philippines has probed exactly 521 patients. Out of the given figure, 171 patients are still admitted to several health facilities and 350 have already been discharged. The country recorded 3 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. One of them died while the remaining two were able to recover and been discharged from the hospital.

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,765 and infected over 70,000 people in China. Cases are also been recorded in more than two dozen countries globally. The necessary precautions and responses are taken on a worldwide perspective to lessen the risk and prevent the widespread of the novel coronavirus.

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