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Nearly 4,000 people quarantined on cruise ship for 14 days after coronavirus confirmed onboard

Feb. 05, 2020
4 min read
Nearly 4,000 people quarantined on cruise ship for 14 days after coronavirus confirmed onboard
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information. It originally published on Feb. 4.

Princess Cruises late Tuesday said nine passengers and a crew member on one of its ships in Japan had tested positive for the new coronavirus from China, prompting local authorities to order a multiweek quarantine of the vessel.

The Santa Clarita, California-based line said more than 2,600 passengers and 1,044 crew on the Diamond Princess would remain quarantined on the ship for at least 14 days.

The 10 people who have tested positive for the virus are being taken off the ship, which is in the harbor of Yokohama, Japan -- the port for Tokyo. They'll be transferred to local hospitals.

Related: Complete guide to traveling during the deadly coronavirus outbreak

Diamond Princess initially was quarantined in Yokohama on Monday. The quarantine came after local authorities learned that a Hong Kong resident who sailed on the ship in late January had later tested positive for coronavirus. The authorities order health checks for all passengers and crew.

The Hong Kong resident who tested positive hadn't reported any symptoms of coronavirus while on Diamond Princess. He disembarked the vessel on Jan. 25. It wasn't until six days later that he presented himself at a hospital in Hong Kong with symptoms of the illness.

"Princess Cruises can confirm that the first phase of health screening of all guests and crew onboard Diamond Princess, by the Japanese Ministry of Health, has been completed," the line said in a statement to The Points Guy. "We were notified that, among the samples that have completed testing, 10 people have tested positive for coronavirus."

Early Wednesday, another cruise vessel arriving in a major Asian port was quarantined until passengers could undergo screening for coronavirus. The quarantine of the 3,376-passenger World Dream, in Hong Kong, was ordered after three passengers from a previous sailing tested positive for the virus. World Dream is operated by Dream Cruises, an Asia-based cruise company that caters to Asian travelers.

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Princess said one of the passengers on Diamond Princess who tested positive for coronavirus is an American. The rest were from Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. The crew member who tested positive is from the Philippines.

The extended length of the Diamond Princess quarantine is required by Japan's Ministry of Health, the line said.

Related: Booked on a cruise to Asia? Here’s how the coronavirus outbreak might affect you

Princess said Diamond Princess would head out to sea to perform normal marine operations including, but not limited to, the production of fresh water and ballast operations, before returning to Yokohama and docking at the city's port. Food and other supplies needed for the extended quarantine of the vessel will be brought onboard.

Passengers have been confined to their cabins for the duration of the quarantine, and many shipboard services have been shut down. Food is being delivered to cabins at regular intervals. Passengers have access to complimentary internet and telephone service to stay in contact with their families and other loved ones.

"The ship’s company is working to keep all guests comfortable," the line added. "Princess Cruises will continue to fully cooperate with and follow the instructions of global medical authorities and the Japanese government."

A division of cruise giant Carnival Corp., Princess has been building its presence in Japan for several years. It operates cruises around Japan that cater to the Japanese market as well as Australians, Brits and North Americans.

Princess said about half of the passengers quarantined on the ship are from Japan. The rest come from a range of nations.

The next two cruises of the vessel, scheduled to depart today (Tuesday, Feb. 4) and next Wednesday (Feb. 12), have been canceled.

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Featured image by PAUL NORDMANN