Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — The Filipino crew members who were rescued from a coronavirus-hit cruise in California raised several concerns as their 14-day quarantine in Tarlac nears its end. This includes a need to conduct more COVID-19 tests and to deploy more health workers to their facilities.
The crew sent a letter to the government on Friday, urging that all of its members be tested for COVID-19 before their scheduled return to their families on March 29.
“If the politicians and their families are able to avail of testing, then we, who were exposed continuously to COVID-19 for a long time, need and deserve the testing even more,” the letter stated.
The letter was addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Department of Health and Magsaysay Maritime Corporation at Princess Cruises.
“While in quarantine, only our temperature is being checked, and testing remains random and unsystematic,” the crew complained.
Over 400 Filipinos, most of whom are crew members, arrived in the country on March 16 from the MV Grand Princess, which was docked off the coast of California after a passenger onboard a previous trip died due to COVID-19.
The evacuees have since been on quarantine in the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City.
“It’s also essential to send more of our hardworking frontline health workers to care for us here,” the letter also said.
The crew also expressed concern how they will return to their respective provinces given the Luzon-wide quarantine.
“At this time we do not know where we will go after the quarantine,” they wrote. “There should be a clear plan so that we can go back home to our families.”
The evacuees also appealed for financial and livelihood assistance as well as help for those who were left behind in the ship.