Twelve Filipino crew members aboard the MV Athens Bridge from India tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, May 7.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that of the 12 crew members, two are currently in critical condition.
The cargo ship was allowed to dock in Manila on May 6. A total of 21 Filipino crew members were on the ship.
“They were coordinating with us and they were appealing na ipadaong ang barko dahil kailangan ng tulong nung dalawang crew member (to let the ship dock because the two crew members needed help). So what we did, we accommodated. They were allowed to dock,” said Vergeire in a press briefing.
In a separate statement, the DOH said that the two crew members who were in critical condition were “transferred to a hospital in Metro Manila.”
Meanwhile, the 10 other members who tested positive “together with the rest of the exposed crew” were brought to a quarantine facility, the DOH said.
“After careful consideration, the vessel was not deemed fit as a quarantine facility for the crew to undergo isolation due to lack of rooms,” the DOH said.
The swab samples of those who tested positive will be sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) for genome sequencing to determine if they carry the B.1.617 coronavirus variant.
The DOH said that the “conduct of the rescue operations is done with the observance of strict protocols on handling of COVID-19 patients.”
“We recognize the risk that this act of compassion brings, but we assure Filipinos that we compiled with the protocols in handling COVID019 patients and have coordinated with other government agencies to deliver urgent assistance to our kababayans,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.