10 on Japan cruise ship have coronavirus
Published: 11:22 AM, 5 February 2020
At least 10 people onboard a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the Japanese health minister said on Wednesday.
Japan quarantined the Diamond Princess carrying 3,711 people and began testing those on board for the virus after a former passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the illness.
Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters that specimens were collected from 273 people on board the Diamond Princess, which arrived in Yokohama Bay on Monday.
So far, the results of 31 tests are available, with 10 confirmed to have the virus, he said. The 10 who tested positive were removed from the vessel in the early morning and sent to medical facilities, the minister added.
The rest of the passengers and crew onboard the ship will be required to stay on the vessel for 14 days, Kato said, citing the medical consensus that the new virus has an incubation period of up to two weeks.
“We ask people on board to behave in a way to avoid infection while we continue the quarantine process,” Kato said.
The cruise operator said around half the passengers on board the ship are Japanese, with the rest from elsewhere, though there were no immediate details on their nationalities.
All 10 cases are in those over the age of 50, Japanese broadcaster NHK said. Four are in their 50s, four are in their 60s, one is in their 70s, and another one is in their 80s. Two of them are said to be Japanese, and none are in "serious condition", NHK said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of travellers onboard a cruise ship that docked in Hong Kong on Wednesday will be allowed to leave the vessel after health checks, the operator said, despite three recent passengers testing positive for coronavirus.
More than 20 countries have confirmed cases of the virus, which has killed nearly 500 people and infected more than 24,000 in mainland China.
The outbreak has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency, several governments to impose travel restrictions, and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.
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