Coronavirus: 70 more cases on Japan cruise ship
A further 70 people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total to 355, as three countries say they will fly their citizens on the ship home. It comes as China’s National Health Commission announced the death toll inside the country had risen to 1,665, with 68,500 infections.
The US embassy in Japan announced on Saturday that more than 400 US nationals would be flown home from the quarantined Diamond Princess, currently docked in the port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo.
The US embassy said in a letter to passengers that, based on the high number of confirmed coronavirus cases, passengers and crew members were considered to be “at high risk of exposure”. US charter flights are expected to arrive on Sunday.
Hong Kong, which has 330 citizens on board, said it will offer nationals an evacuation flight. The Canadian government also confirmed late on Saturday that it had chartered a plane to bring it citizens who are passengers on the ship home.
Canadian passengers who exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus infection will not be permitted to board the flight and will instead be transferred to the Japanese health care system to receive appropriate care, the government said.
After arriving in Canada, the passengers will undergo a 14-day period of quarantine, the statement added.
The Diamond Princess has been stuck in Japan after a passenger who had disembarked in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus.
The Australian embassy in Tokyo emailed citizens aboard the cruise ship to say the federal government was also examining options to assist Australians.
The embassy told citizens it understood it was a “very stressful” situation for them and that Australian medical officers were working closely with Japanese authorities to support them.