China voices concern as 29 Filipino seafarers test positive for coronavirus

A total of 29 Filipino seafarers have tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in China to board their ships, according to a report carried in the Manila Bulletin, the Philippines' largest English language broadsheet newspaper.

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According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Chinese embassy in Manila informed the organisation that the crewmembers had tested positive for coronavirus in China despite testing negative prior to their arrival.

The embassy expressed concerns over the integrity of coronavirus tests being conducted in the Philippines, something that has been under the spotlight in recent weeks with a number of similar cases occurring on ships heading from Manila to Australia.

“I assured them there is no issue over integrity because the testing facilities accredited by the Department of Health don’t fabricate results,” said POEA administrator Bernard Olalia.

Olalia said they will continue to work with their Chinese counterparts to avoid similar incidents in the future.

China opened up 10 ports for crew changes earlier this month as the country eases entry restrictions for foreigners.

The Philippines is working on a blockchain health certificate solution to try and alleviate concerns other countries have about Manila’s current Covid-19 testing practices.