A few days after being taken out of a coronavirus-infected cargo ship, the two Filipino crew members who were reported to be critically ill, are now in stable condition.
According to Luisito delos Santos, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) officer-in-charge for management information system service, the two patients are still being closely monitored at a currently undisclosed quarantine facility, along with ten other Filipino seafarers who are asymptomatic patients.
In the previous reports, 12 out of 21 all-Filipino crew of the Panamanian-flagged M/V Athens Bridge that docked at the ports of Chennai and Kattupalli in India last month were found positive for COVID-19 after they had their RT-PCR test at their next port of call in Haiphong, Vietnam on May 1.
The vessel’s shipping agent requested Philippine Coast Guard last May 6 for help and to allow immediate medical evacuation of the two seafarers who were in critical condition.
Santos noted that the cargo had already left India when the Philippines imposed the travel ban for travelers coming from India. MV Athens Bridge anchored off Sangley Point with the permission of the government.
“I think when the IATF (Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) guidelines were issued, the ship was already out of India. We have to consider that they are also Filipinos. I think our government allowed their entry, so there could have been considerations,” Santos pointed out.
Santos also stated that the COVID-19 patients were allowed to disembark to save the lives of Filipino seafarers who were not infected with the virus, as the vessel unfit for isolation due to a lack of rooms.