By Betheena Unite
After staying aboard cruise ships at the Manila Bay anchorage for days now, hundreds of returning Filipino seafarers from various ships were finally tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Wednesday (May 6).
Cruise ship crew members from MV Carnival Spirit, MV Pacific Aria, MV Pacific Explorer, and MV Costa Venezia were tested for the disease by medical teams from the Philippine Coast Guard.
A total of 364 Filipino seafarers from the Carnival Spirit, 157 from the Pacific Aria, 314 from the Pacific Explorer, and 141from the Costa Venezia were subjected to COVID-19 testing.
Most of them were already nearing the end of their 14-day mandatory quarantine before the tests were done, the Coast Guard said.
Seafarers from the Carnival Spirit were already on their ninth day of their 14-day mandatory quarantine after arriving last April 27, while seafarers onboard the Pacific Explorer have already reached their twelfth day of quarantine prior to testing. They arrived in the country last April 24.
Crewmen of the Costa Venezia were already on their sixth day of quarantine yesterday. They arrived in Manila last April 30.
Aside from the four ships, the Coast Guard also conducted tests on seafarers on the MV Voyager of the Seas, MV Sea Princess, and MV Sun Princess.
“If the result of their test is negative, their quarantine clearances will immediately be processed, as well as their needed transportation services to their home provinces and cities,” the Coast Guard said.
“If the result of their test is positive, they will immediately be ferried to the nearest COVID-19 referral hospital for medical assistance,” the Coast Guard added, saying the results will be out in two days’ time.
Meanwhile, eight more cruise ships carrying Filipino seafarers are expected to arrive in the country within two weeks, Coast Guard Commodore Armand Balilo said.