Virus hotspot: more than 700 passengers and crew were infected aboard Diamond Princes
Virus hotspot: more than 700 passengers and crew were infected aboard Diamond Princes

Coronavirus RNA survived in Diamond Princess cruise cabins for 17 days, CDC says

Some cruise passengers still face marathon voyages to get home

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 24 March 2020 13:11
Comments

Cabins on Diamond Princess harboured the RNA of coronavirus for up to 17 days after passengers left the ship in Yokohama, Japan.

The Princess Cruises ship, carrying 3,700 passengers and crew, was quarantined on 5 February by Japanese officials in the port of Yokohama after Covid-19 was detected. The vessel became a coronavirus hotspot in its own right. Nine people who were on board the ship have died, including one British holidaymaker.

More than 700 other passengers and crew were infected with the virus.

Now research assessed by the US Centers for Disease Control has revealed that surfaces in cabins occupied by infected passengers continued to harbour the RNA (ribonucleic acid) of the virus responsible “for up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess”.

RNA is material that carries genetic information. It can indicate if the virus was present but does not indicate the virus was still alive.

Cruise ships are often settings for outbreaks of infectious diseases because of their closed environment and contact between travellers from many countries.

The CDC said: “Cruise ships bring diverse populations into proximity for many days, facilitating transmission of respiratory illness

“Outbreaks of Covid-19 on cruise ships pose a risk for rapid spread of disease beyond the voyage.

“Aggressive efforts are required to contain spread. All persons should defer all cruise travel worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In addition to Diamond Princess, the ship quarantined by Japan, a sister ship – Grand Princess – was forced to remain off the coast of California for days after cases were discovered on board.

The vast majority of the 270 cruise ships that were in service before the coronavirus crisis began are in port, but some are still making their way around the world.

A third Princess Cruises ship, Coral Princess is due to arrive in Rio later on Tuesday to disembark some passenger.

The cruise line said: “Although Brazil has been closed to cruise ship traffic, we are working through diplomatic channels to obtain permission and have received positive responses.

“Guests with confirmed homeward flight arrangements will be permitted to disembark and go directly to the airport.”

But “due to limited flight availability” not all passengers will be be allowed off. They will be kept on board for a 12-day voyage to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“This is an unprecedented situation and we thank our guests for their continued patience and understanding,” Princess Cruises said.

The P&O ship Arcadia is currently in port in Durban, South Africa, but passengers are not being allowed to disembark.

Instead, supplies are being taken on for a 17-day voyage nonstop to Southampton.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in