Coronavirus: Hundreds of Americans quarantined on Japan cruise ship as second boat held in Hong Kong

Those on board face a total of two weeks in quarantine after nine passengers and one crew member were taken ashore to hospital

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 05 February 2020 23:30 GMT
Americans quarantined on Japan coronavirus cruise ship

American tourists are among those quarantined on a cruise ship currently docked in Japan.

A total of 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew aboard the Diamond Princess have begun a lengthy period of quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus.

The ship is being held in Yokohama Bay. When it arrived on Monday, passengers were informed they would not be allowed to disembark.

On Tuesday morning, it was announced that 10 people on board were infected with the virus. They were taken ashore by the Japanese coast guard and sent to nearby hospitals.

Operator Princess Cruises confirmed that two Australians, one American, three passengers from Hong Kong, three from Japan, and a Filipino crew member tested positive for the coronavirus.

Speaking to KUTV in Salt Lake City, US citizens Jerri Larson Jorgensen and her husband, Mark, who have been touring southeast Asia for several weeks, told how Japanese authorities came onto the ship and came to each cabin to check people’s temperature. Those with fevers were then taken off the ship.

The remainder of the ship’s passengers have been told to stay in their cabins for a mandatory two week period. Rationed meals are being delivered by crew in face masks.

Quarantine officials on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that has been quarantined in Japan (PA)

Princess Cruises says that half of the passengers on board are Japanese and it has been reported that 428 passengers are Americans.

The ship plans to go out to sea to perform normal marine operations including the production of fresh water and ballast operations before returning to Yokohama where food, provisions, and other supplies will be brought onboard.

A second cruise ship, the World Dream, owned by Genting and operated by Dream Cruises, is also under quarantine in Hong Kong, with its 3,700 passengers and crew undergoing testing for coronavirus.

The World Dream was refused permission to dock in Taiwan after initially three, now eight, passengers from Mainland China, who had been on a previous cruise on the ship had fallen ill after a trip between China and Vietnam in January.

Edith Poon, spokesperson for Genting Hong Kong Limited, the holding company that owns Dream Cruises, confirmed that 30 crew members had self-declared symptoms of the virus.

“We are currently waiting for the results to come in,” she told USA Today. “Upon availability of the results, we shall comply with the Department of Health's instruction on the next step forward. Until then, as advised by the Department of Health, all passengers of the cruise ship are to remain onboard.”

The South China Morning Post reports that Dr Leung Yiu-hong, chief port health officer at the Centre for Health Protection, said of the crew members who later reported feeling unwell, three had a fever and one tested positive for type B flu.

“All the three crew members running a fever before will be sent to hospital for quarantine,” he said. “The remaining 27 crew members have minor symptoms of upper respiratory infection such as coughing and a sore throat. Our staff are now taking their samples for coronavirus tests.”

By Wednesday, a total of 24,631 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed worldwide with 494 deaths.

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