At least 10 people on board cruise ship Diamond Princess, which is docked and quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama, have tested positive for coronavirus, health authorities said. With only 300 of the 3,700 people on board tested to date there were fears that the number of infected could rise.
The checks began after an 80-year-old Hong Kong man, who had been on the ship last month fell ill with the virus.
Japanese broadcaster NHK said that all the people who tested positive were over the age of 50, with four in their 50s, four in their 60s, one aged over 70. One more victim was aged over 80.
The infected persons include two Australian guests, three Japanese guests, three guests from Hong Kong, and one guest from the US in addition to one Filipino crewmember, Princess Cruises said.
The 10 will be taken ashore by Japanese Coast Guard watercraft and transported to local hospitals for care by shoreside Japanese medical professionals, the company said. Meanwhile the ship will remain under quarantine in Yokohama for at least 14 days.
There were 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew currently, with about half of them from Japan.
“The ship plans to go out to sea to perform normal marine operations including, but not limited to, the production of fresh water and ballast operations before proceeding alongside in Yokohama where food, provisions, and other supplies will be brought onboard,” Princess Cruises said, adding that “guests will continue to be provided complimentary internet and telephone to use in order to stay in contact with their family and loved ones, and the ship’s crew is working to keep all guests comfortable.
Two further cruises planned on the ship have been cancelled.