Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr announced on Saturday, March 28, that the Department of Foreign Affairs would repatriate more than 4,000 Filipino crew members of cruise ships "in the next three weeks."
Locsin revealed on Twitter that a total of 530 of them who were the crew of Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa, would arrive in the country on Sunday but there were no hotels or motels to book the crew in.
Italian cruise company Costa Cruises, which operates the liners, earlier cancelled all operations until April 3 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Magica and Favolosa were anchored close to the port of Miami FL on Thursday because some sick crew showed flu-like symptoms.
Locsin said that the Department of Tourism already had “a list of accommodations” but it should be vetted by the Department of Health, according to protocol. Under the DOH protocol, none of the incoming repatriates would be tested but in previous cases, repatriates were placed on 2-week quarantine in a government-designated facility.
Last month, 445 Filipino crew were repatriated from the Coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess in Japan. The crew members were brought to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac – the national quarantine facility of the Philippines for the COVID-19 outbreak.
The crew members aboard Diamond Princess are expected to leave the quarantine facility and return to their homes on Sunday, March 29. They appealed to the government to be tested for COVID-19 first so they would not pose risk to their families and communities.
For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.