WORLD / ASIA-PACIFIC
3rd group of passengers leave virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan
Published: Feb 21, 2020 08:16 PM

Photo taken on Feb. 19, 2020 shows passengers walking on the deck of the "Diamond Princess", a cruise ship which has been kept in quarantine for 14 days at the port of Yokohama in Japan. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)


A third group of passengers on Friday are disembarking from the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama near Tokyo, with health officials hoping that around 450 passengers will leave the vessel by the end of Friday.

A day earlier, a second group of around 500 passengers disembarked from the vessel, with the departures following 443 people, mainly elderly, who left the ship on Wednesday after their two-week quarantine period had concluded and they had all tested negative for the virus.

Anyone who has come into close contact with someone who was confirmed to have become infected with the virus, will now be required to stay at a government-provided facility here, regardless of whether they test negative or not.

The period of their stay at the facility will be based on when the person first came into contact with the infected person and when the person carrying the virus was then removed from the quarantined ship, health officials said.

On Thursday, two Japanese passengers from Diamond Princess cruise ship died after being infected with the virus, with the deaths of the two elderly passengers, an 87-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman, marking the first fatalities among the quarantined ship that has been docked in Yokohama Port near Tokyo.

According to health officials, both individuals had preexisting conditions and the man was taken off the ship on Feb. 11 to receive treatment at a medical facility in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo, with the woman following a day later and treated in Tokyo after both had tested positive for the virus.

Health officials said they are trying to track the infection route to the deceased passengers

Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, meanwhile, a day earlier also said that there were 29 passengers from the cruise ship in their 40s to 80s that are in a serious condition. Of these, 15 of them are Japanese nationals, the ministry said.

Of the 29, and including the two who have died, the ministry said that 28 of them have tested positive for the virus.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship was initially carrying around 3,700 passengers and crew from more than 50 countries and regions. The vessel was put under quarantine at the port in Yokohama on Feb. 5 after a passenger who had disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected with the virus.
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