HONG KONG: Thousands of passengers and crew on two cruise ships in Asian waters were placed in quarantine for China’s coronavirus as airlines, car manufacturers and other global companies counted the cost of the fast-spreading outbreak.China yesterday said another 65 people had died as of Tuesday, the highest daily total yet, taking the overall toll on the mainland to 490.
The virus had disrupted air travel, with more than two dozen airlines suspending or restricting flights to China and several countries.
The disruption spread to cruise ships this week, with about 3,700 people facing at least two weeks locked away on a liner anchored off Japan after health officials confirmed that 10 people aboard had tested positive for the virus.
Passengers on the Diamond Princess posted pictures online of officials in masks and gowns conducting health checks and an empty deck.
“This is not a good situation, ” British passenger David Abel said in a post on Facebook.
In Hong Kong, 3,600 passengers and crew were confined to their ship docked in the city for tests after three people on board had tested positive earlier.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways asked its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave, saying conditions were as grave now as during the 2009 financial crisis.
Hyundai Motor will suspend production in South Korea because of a disruption to the supply of parts, it said, becoming the first major carmaker to do so outside of China.
Global carmakers have already extended factory closures in China in line with government guidelines. — Reuters