4,000 Filipino cruise ship members to come home amid quarantine restrictions

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FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — Thousands of Filipino crew ship members are set to come home in the coming days, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin Jr. said Saturday.

In an announcement on Twitter, Locsin said 530 crew members from the ships Costa Fabulosa and Costa Magica will arrive on Sunday.

He said 4,000 Filipino crew would be arriving in the next three weeks.

Locsin noted there were no facilities available to host the repatriated Filipinos. The situation is also made more complicated by constraints arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.

"While DOT has a list of accommodations, the OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) of DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) must approve the items in the list; however OWWA says it cannot approve the DOT list unless the DOH (Department of Health) first approves the list. The DOH says that the rooms must qualify as individual isolation wards with room service so there is no mingling just in case some are COVID," Locsin said in a series of tweets.

The secretary added it was suggested the crew members be tested by the DOH, but it was shot down by an undersecretary of the department.

Filipino crew members from various cruise ships have been steadily coming back to the country as trips continue to be canceled amid the continuing constraints set by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite their return, some have not been able to home to their respective provinces due to quarantine restrictions which prevent them from leaving the National Capital Region.

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