Coronavirus cases triple to 61 on cruise ship quarantined in Japan, with 41 more reported

2020-02-06 21:28:00

The number of diagnosed cases of coronavirus on a Princess Cruises ship quarantined off the coast of Yokohoma, Japan, has tripled, according to the latest report from the cruise line. 

The Japanese Ministry of Health notified Princess Cruises that an additional 41 people screened aboard the Diamond Princess have tested positive for coronavirus, the cruise line said in a statement late Thursday. On Wednesday, Princess Cruises confirmed 20 diagnosed cases of coronavirus on the ship, which was already under a 14-day quarantine.

Guests testing positive are expected to be transported to local hospitals immediately.

Japanese health officials have reviewed 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members on board Diamond Princess for symptoms, Princess Cruises’ Public Relations Director Negin Kamali said. 

Diamond Princess:  Cruise ship to stay under quarantine after 10 more passengers test positive

“The health and safety of our guests and crew remains our top priority. We continue to work closely with the Japan Ministry of Health on all protocols and procedures while ensuring the comfort and well-being of our guests,” Kamali said in the statement. 

The cruise line promised, “Guests will continue to be provided complimentary internet and telephone … the ship’s company is working to keep all guests comfortable.”  

But David Abel, one of the 3,700 passengers aboard the ship, lamented on Facebook, “It’s not going to be a luxury cruise; it’s going to be like a floating prison.”

‘A floating prison’:  Diamond Princess cruise passengers on two-week coronavirus quarantine

Abel, who had booked the East Asian cruise to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary, told the Associated Press he anticipates the additional two weeks at sea is going to be “absolute boredom” for many passengers, adding, “the people I feel really sorry for are those with inside cabins who’ve got no natural light, no fresh air. It’s going to be pretty grim for them for two weeks.”

Non-quarantined cruise ship that visited Hong Kong searches for a port amid coronavirus storm

As the coronavirus epidemic rages, Holland America’s MS Westerdam cruise ship, which made a stop in Hong Kong last week, is once again looking for a port after being turned away by the Philippines and now Japan over concerns about the illness.

Holland America said there are no known cases of coronavirus on board despite reports to the contrary, and the MS Westerdam is not in quarantine. 

“Holland America Line has been notified that the Japanese Government will not permit Westerdam to call in Japanese ports,” the cruise line stated in a press release provided by Public Relations Director Erik Elvejord. “The ship had been scheduled to call to Ishigaki Island, Naha, Okinawa, Nagasaki and Fukuoka (Hakata), before its scheduled turn in Yokohama on Feb. 15, where the next cruise was scheduled to embark.”

The cruise line is working quickly to develop alternate plans for the remainder of the 14-day East Asia cruise, which had already moved disembarkation point from Shanghai, China, to Yokohama. 

Holland America also said that it has canceled the next cruise that was scheduled to embark in Yokohama on Feb. 15 and that it will notify guests and travel agents. 

Earlier in the cruise, the ship was forced to skip a port call in Manila after the Philippines wouldn’t allow any foreigners aboard the Westerdam to disembark there. The move was due to the country’s temporary ban on non-citizens or permanent residents entering directly from China, Hong Kong or Macau, Holland America confirmed to Australia’s

As of Feb. 6, Japan has reported 86 confirmed cases of coronavirus. The Philippines has had two, including the only death from the virus outside of China and Hong Kong

Mainland China has had over 31,000 cases and 636 deaths, while Hong Kong has had 24 cases and one death.

According to the ship-tracking website, MS Westerdam, which can accommodate more than 1,900 passengers and 800 crew, has been in transit for three days since leaving the port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on Monday, Prior to that, it made port calls in Hong Kong (Jan. 31); Cai Mep, Vietnam (Jan. 22); Kampong Saom, Cambodia (Jan. 21); and Laem Chabang, Thailand (Jan. 18).

Each of the countries on the cruise’s current itinerary has had confirmed cases: Hong Kong has had 24 cases and one death. Thailand has 25; Taiwan has 16 while Vietnam has 10. South Korea, which the ship is yet to visit, has 23.  Cambodia is the least impacted with just one case reported so far.

In the three previous cases in which cruise ships were quarantined over coronavirus concerns, local health authorities boarded each vessel to test passengers and crew for the virus. One ship, Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess, was found to have positive cases and was placed under an additional 14-day quarantine. A second, Dream Cruises’ World Dream, is still conducting tests on those currently aboard after three people from a previous cruise tested positive. Passengers on the third, Costa Cruises’ Costa Smeralda, were permitted to disembark in Italy on Jan. 30 after everyone aboard tested negative.

‘A floating prison’:  Diamond Princess cruise passengers on two-week coronavirus quarantine

World Dream: 33 crew members test negative, passenger tests underway

Passengers stand on balconies aboard the World Dream cruise ship as it sits moored at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on February 5, in Hong Kong.
Passengers stand on balconies aboard the World Dream cruise ship as it sits moored at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on February 5, in Hong Kong.

On Thursday, Genting Hong Kong Limited, the holding company that owns Dream Cruises, told USA TODAY that 33 World Dream crew members who had reported upper respiratory tract infections tested negative for coronavirus. An additional employee with a fever is still awaiting test results. 

“Dream Cruises is fully cooperating with The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health to assist in expediting the health assessments for all passengers onboard World Dream,” the company said in a statement provided by spokeswoman Edith Poon. The statement, which noted there are nine children under the age of 2 on board. The passenger screenings are being “conducted in-cabin to avoid the congregating of guests as much as possible.”

It continued, “However, due to this situation, no passengers or crew will be allowed to disembark from World Dream until the test results from the affected crew members have been confirmed.”

The cruise line said it would continue to provide food and drink services to the 3,700 people aboard but that activities had been curtailed. 

“Currently, there are sufficient supplies for all passengers and crew members and complimentary Wi-Fi service is also available for all passengers onboard,” the statement noted. “As well, protective facial masks have always been, and will continue to be, available for passengers who can register at the Front Desk for collection.”

The statement said there are 1,871 passengers – “with 1,692 from Hong Kong and the remainder of various nationalities including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Taiwan and Macau” on board, as well as 1,820 crew members.

The company said no one currently aboard had contact with the three people who were present from Jan. 19 to Jan. 24 cruise that tested positive for coronavirus.

Third ship quarantined:  3,700 on Dream Cruises ship undergoing testing after 3 confirmed coronavirus cases

Worried about getting sick on a cruise?  Here’s how to sanitize your cabin in 12 steps

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: 41 more cases detected on ship quarantined in Japan

Source link

Liked it? Take a second to support SayWHA Radio Network on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Further reading

Recent posts