29 Filipino seafarers reported COVID-positive in China

Twenty-nine Filipino seafarers were tested positive for COVID-19 upon their arrival in China and prior to boarding their ships at Chinese ports.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia | Photo source: Philippine Information Agency

Lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com reported yesterday that the Filipino seafarers that were found COVID positive were tested negative in the Philippines before their departure to China

The report said it was the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that claimed the seafarers had been tested negative for COVID-19 before their departure, but Chinese officials had expressed concern over the integrity of the test results in Manila.
POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said that he was informed of the incidents by the Chinese Embassy in Manila.

Atty. Olalia, however, stressed: “I assured them there is no issue over integrity because the testing facilities accredited by the Department of Health don’t fabricate results.” 

The report said the concerned Filipino seafarers were scheduled to join their vessels at Chinese ports, but no details were given about the arrival dates and names of the vessels to be boarded.

The report added that based on ship management sources in China they indicated that the number of COVID positive Filipino seafarers might be accumulated results over the past few months.

It said that since the middle of this year more than 20 imported cases in relation to Philippine crew have been reported at various Chinese ports that prompted the Chinese government to impose new rules on crew change last month.

The new rules, which took effect last September, requires onboard crew who signed on at an overseas port must test negative before their vessels’ arrival in China.The new rules also says the testing facility must be either appointed or approved by China’s overseas embassies or consulates.

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