Coronavirus: passenger goes into labour during Manila repatriation flight

The woman, who was 35 weeks pregnant and cleared to fly, gave birth in Thailand

The Philippine Airlines repatriation flight from Dubai to Manila was forced to land in Bangkok. Romeo Ranoco / Reuters
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A repatriation flight from Dubai to Manila was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok after a pregnant passenger went into labour.

Philippine Airlines flight PR659, carrying 294 Filipinos, was diverted to Suvarnabhumi Airport on Saturday morning because of the onboard emergency.

The woman, who was cleared to fly and was 35 weeks pregnant, reported labour pains to staff, who then diverted the flight to Thailand.

On landing she was transferred to hospital in Bangkok where she later gave birth.

On Sunday, airline officials said the woman had had medical clearance to fly and that both mother and baby were recovering well in hospital.

The flight resumed its course to Manila, arriving in the capital by noon the same day.

A second flight operated by PAL is expected to repatriate a further 355 passengers to Manila from Dubai on Sunday. Of those, 28 are pregnant.

They will be among more than 6,000 Filipinos to have been flown home from the UAE since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.

Many have lost jobs and were forced to return, while others have chosen to be closer to their family.

An additional 1,000 Philippine nationals have contacted their embassy to registered an interest in leaving the UAE and returning home as flight restrictions continue to ease.