A cruise ship being investigated in Australia for sparking coronavirus infections anchored in Manila Bay on Thursday, May 7 to bring Filipino crewmen home.
The Ruby Princess has been linked to 19 deaths in Australia and two in the United States. An Australian government inquiry is underway into why 2,700 passengers and crew were allowed to disembark in Sydney on March 19 before the test results of sick passengers were known.
Coast Guard spokesman Armand Balilo said 214 Filipino crew members on the Ruby Princess will be tested but may have to wait behind those from other ships.
He said they are required to undergo swab testing and are expected to stay in the vessel until they receive their test results in around three days.
“There are 16 cruise ships anchored right now in Manila Bay,” Commodore Armand Balilo of the Philippine coast guard told the Guardian. “We have to swab all the Filipinos first to see if they’re positive for coronavirus.”
Those who test positive will be brought to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa, Balilo said.
“What we are doing is critical,” said Balilo. “If one carrier of the disease is able to escape us, he or she could infect more people.”
Those who are cleared will be sent home with a medical certificate. They are not required to undergo a facility-based quarantine but are advised to go through a 14-day quarantine in their own homes as a precautionary measure.