NHK: About 60 more cases on Japan cruise ship

  • Japan
  • Tuesday, 11 Feb 2020

Safety first: People wearing protective suits walking from the ‘Diamond Princess’ cruise ship at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port. — AFP

Tokyo: Around 60 more people aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, national broadcaster NHK said, bringing the total number of infected to about 130.Other local media also reported the new cases, but health ministry officials declined to comment.

The Diamond Princess has been in quarantine since arriving off the Japanese coast early last week after the virus was detected in a former passenger who got off the ship last month in Hong Kong.

When the boat arrived off Japan, authorities initially tested nearly 300 people for the virus of the 3,711 on board, gradually evacuating dozens who were infected to local medical facilities.

In recent days, testing has expanded to those with new symptoms or who had close contact with other infected passengers or crew, and several more cases were reported over the weekend.

Those who remain on the ship have been asked to stay inside their cabins and allowed only briefly onto open decks.

They have been asked to wear masks and keep a distance from each other when outside, and given thermometers to regularly monitor their temperatures.

The ship is expected to stay in quarantine until Feb 19, about 14 days after the isolation began.

The quarantine has made life on board the ship difficult, particularly for those in windowless interior cabins and a significant number of passengers who require medication for various chronic conditions.

The health ministry said around 600 people on board urgently needed medication, and around half received supplies over the weekend.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters that discussions were ongoing about how to increase testing capacity and also whether testing would take place after passengers are released from quarantine.

The World Health Organization confirmed in a tweet that newly diagnosed cases on the ship should not extend the length of the quarantine.

“The quarantine period of the #DiamondPrincess will come to an end on Feb 19, ” the WHO said in a tweet. — AFP

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