444 Filipinos aboard MV Grand Princess repatriated

A total of 444 Filipinos -- 438 crew members and six passengers -- from the MV Grand Princess were brought home today by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on board a chartered flight from San Francisco International Airport.

Philippine Consul General in San Franciso Henry Bensurto, Jr. and his team monitored preparations for disembarkation at Oakland Port which started around noon on March 14 (Pacific Time).

Upon disembarkation from the ship, the repatriates all underwent health screening by the US Department of Health and Human Services which included thermal scanning and other diagnostics to test if they had symptoms of Covid-19.

As a matter of protocol, only those who were asymptomatic were allowed to board the buses that transferred them to San Francisco International Airport. The plane left the airport at around 9 p.m. on March 14 (Pacific Time).

The repatriates were received by the team from DFA Home Office in Manila at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Airbase, Pampanga, at around 2:15 a.m. on March 16.

After landing, all repatriates were transported on chartered buses to the Athletes' Village in New Clark City for the 14-day quarantine period under the full medical attention of health professionals from the Department of Health (DOH).

A total of 78 Filipino crew members volunteered to remain on board to be part of the essential manning of the ship.

Meanwhile, the 13 Filipino crew members who tested positive for Covid-19 stayed in the US and were brought to a care facility for treatment.

The other three Filipino guests disembarked and stayed in the US as they are California residents.

The group is the third batch of repatriates that the DFA brought home from Covid-19 affected areas.

The repatriation was coordinated and facilitated by the DFA through the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco in coordination with the Carnival Corporation, the State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions, and the California Governor’s Office.

Source: Philippines News Agency