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More than 16,000 FIlipino and foreign sailors from cruise ships anchored at Manila Bay have been cleared of the coronavirus, according to the Bureau of Immigration.

Of the 16,287 seafarers, 11,189 were Filipinos and 5,098 were foreigners, Seaport Operations chief Alnazib Decampong said in a report.

The sailors have left 42 vessels between April 16 and June 15 after being quarantined and tested for the virus. About 2,300 more were awaiting repatriation, Mr. Decampong said.

Meanwhile, an inter-agency task force made up of Cabinet secretaries has agreed to bring home the bodies of 301 Filipinos from Saudi Arabia, about half of whom died after getting the coronavirus, presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque said at a briefing on Friday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III earlier said that of 301 victims, 145 died of the virus, while the rest died of natural causes. The Philippines would send two cargo planes to fetch the bodies, he added.

The coronavirus has sickened 6,114 overseas Filipinos as of June 25, 2,086 of whom were being treated in various hospitals overseas, according to the Foreign Affairs department. It said 3,775 patients have recovered and 253 died. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Charmaine A. Tadalan

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard wearing protective masks hold their weapons with gloves outside a passenger vessel turned into a temporary quarantine facility for Filipino seafarers to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Manila, April 13. — REUTERS
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