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Ten more on cruise ship off Japan have new coronavirus: Local media

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Tokyo, Japan   /   Thu, February 6, 2020   /   09:38 am
Ten more on cruise ship off Japan have new coronavirus: Local media The Diamond Princess cruise ship (R) with over 3,000 people sits anchored in quarantine off the port of Yokohama on February 4, 2020, a day after it arrived with passengers feeling ill. - Japan has quarantined the cruise ship carrying 3,711 people and was testing those onboard for the new coronavirus on February 4 after a passenger who departed in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus. (Photo by Behrouz MEHRI / AFP) (AFP/Behrouz Mehri)

Ten more people on a cruise ship off Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus, local media said Thursday, raising the number of infections detected on the boat to 20.

Japanese authorities have tested 273 people among the approximately 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship after a man who got off the boat last month in Hong Kong tested positive for the new strain.

The new cases were reported as the Diamond Princess, which was placed in quarantine off the Japanese port city of Yokohama on Monday night, docked to allow resupply and the removal of sick passengers.

At the port, officials could be seen dressed in white full-body protective suits, complete with face masks and helmets.

As the massive cruise ship docked, passengers who have been told they may have to stay aboard for 14 days even if they test negative for the virus, came out onto balconies, some waving to assembled media or taking pictures.

People on board have described confusion and boredom after being confined to cabins following the decision by Japanese authorities to quarantine the vessel.

More than 20 countries have confirmed cases of the virus, which has infected more than 28,000 in mainland China and killed more than 560 people.

The outbreak has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency, several governments to impose travel restrictions, and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.

Japan has now confirmed 25 cases of the new coronavirus -- excluding the cruise ship infections -- among them citizens returning from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.

Tokyo has evacuated more than 500 Japanese citizens from Wuhan, and attracted some criticism for its relatively loose quarantine approach.

There have been several incidences of apparent person-to-person transmission in Japan, including a tour guide and bus driver who contracted the virus after coming into contact with visitors from Wuhan.

Neither had visited China in recent months.