Virus-hit ship on its way to PH from Australia

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 28) — A coronavirus-hit cruise ship previously docked in Australia is heading to the Philippines, along with a hundred Filipino crew members.

Commodore Armand Balilo, spokesman of the Philippine Coast Guard, confirmed to CNN Philippines on Tuesday that the Ruby Princess will be allowed to "dock or anchor" in the country.

Balilo said those on board will be tested for COVID-19. Those diagnosed with the virus will be brought to the hospital for treatment while those who test negative will be placed under the mandatory 14-day quarantine, he said.

Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Ed Meñez said the Philippine Ports Authority, Bureau of Quarantine, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will be "in charge" once the ship arrives at Manila North Harbor.

Authorities have yet to disclose other details.

Australian media earlier reported that the ship, linked to 21 coronavirus deaths and some 600 infections, sailed out of the Oceania country on April 24. It was quarantined at Port Kembla, south of Sydney, since April 6.

Some 360 Filipino crew members were earlier evacuated, boarding a special chartered Cebu Pacific flight from Sydney back to the Philippines, the DFA said last week. Over 100 Filipinos remained on board to operate the vessel.

Metro Manila and several provinces in the country are under enhanced community quarantine, restricting people's movement, but overseas Filipino workers are allowed to return as long as they undergo a 14-day quarantine before going back to their homes.

COVID-19 response chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr., in an online briefing, said 16,000 OFWs are now in quarantine facilities while the government is expecting 150,000 inbound Filipinos.

Nationwide, the number of COVID-19 cases rose to 7,958 on Tuesday, with 530 deaths and 975 recoveries.

RELATED: 209 more Filipinos abroad have COVID-19, largest single-day jump in past month

CNN Philippines' Tristan Nodalo contributed to this report.