Nearly 4,000 people quarantined on cruise ship for 14 days after coronavirus confirmed onboard
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Princess Cruises late Tuesday said nine passengers and a crew member on one of its ships in Japan had tested positive for the new coronavirus from China, prompting local authorities to order a multiweek quarantine of the vessel.
The Santa Clarita, California-based line said more than 2,600 passengers and 1,044 crew on the Diamond Princess would remain quarantined on the ship for at least 14 days.
The 10 people who have tested positive for the virus are being taken off the ship, which is in the harbour of Yokohama, Japan — the port for Tokyo. They’ll be transferred to local hospitals.
Diamond Princess has been quarantined in Yokohama since Monday. Passengers and crew were ordered by local authorities to undergo health checks after a resident of Hong Kong, who was on a previous sailing of the ship, tested positive for coronavirus. The resident of Hong Kong who tested positive didn’t report symptoms of an illness while on the vessel, which he disembarked on 25 January. But he presented himself at a hospital in Hong Kong six days later with symptoms of the illness.
“Princess Cruises can confirm that the first phase of health screening of all guests and crew onboard Diamond Princess, by the Japanese Ministry of Health, has been completed”, the line said in a statement to The Points Guy. “We were notified that, among the samples that have completed testing, 10 people have tested positive for coronavirus”.
Princess said one of the passengers who tested positive is an American. The rest were from Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. The crew member who tested positive is from the Philippines.
The length of the quarantine is required by Japan’s Ministry of Health, the line said.
Diamond Princess will head out to sea to perform normal marine operations including, but not limited to, the production of fresh water and ballast operations, before returning to Yokohama and docking at the city’s port. Food, provisions and other supplies needed for the extended quarantine of the vessel will be brought onboard.
The line said passengers would have access to complimentary internet and telephone service during the quarantine to stay in contact with their families and other loved ones. It was not immediately clear if the passengers will be required to remain in their cabins, or if they will be free to roam the ship.
“The ship’s company is working to keep all guests comfortable”, the line added. “Princess Cruises will continue to fully cooperate with and follow the instructions of global medical authorities and the Japanese government”.
A division of cruise giant Carnival Corp., Princess has been building its presence in Japan for several years. It operates cruises around Japan that cater to the Japanese market as well as Australians, Brits and North Americans.
Princess said about half of the passengers quarantined on the ship are from Japan. The rest come from a range of nations.
The next two cruises of the vessel, scheduled to depart today (Tuesday, 4 February) and next Wednesday (12 February), have been cancelled.
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Featured image of Princess Cruises ship Diamond Princess in Yokohama, Japan. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.
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