Fourth Diamond Princess passenger dies; MSC cruise ship allowed to dock in Mexico

2020-02-26 22:52:50

Corrections and clarifications: A previous version of this story misidentified the location of the highest number of coronavirus cases outside of mainland China.

A fourth person who traveled on Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess cruise ship has died, Japanese broadcast network NHK reported on Monday. The fourth fatality was also included on a map built by the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering that is tracking all confirmed cases, fatalities and recoveries. 

Three other passengers from the Diamond Princess have died after being quarantined for coronavirus.

“Our hearts go out to the families, friends and all who are impacted by these losses,” the company said in a statement last week provided by spokeswoman Alivia Owyoung Ender. “All of us at Princess Cruises, as well as the crew of the Diamond Princess, offer our sincere condolences.”

As of Wednesday morning, there were at least 705 confirmed cases of coronavirus that stemmed from the Diamond Princess.

As of Wednesday morning, according to the Johns Hopkins CSSE map, coronavirus has infected more than 81,000 people around the world and killed almost 2,800. 

The U.S. has 57 cases of coronavirus, with at least 40 Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that have tested positive. 

The remaining cases are comprised of Americans who returned from China before the federal government imposed travel restrictions, were infected by others who had been to China or were repatriated from the outbreak’s epicenter of Wuhan.

Coronavirus fears halt MSC cruise ship

After being turned away from multiple Caribbean ports, the MSC Meraviglia has received clearance to dock at the Port of Cozumel in Mexico. MSC cruises said in a statement provided by spokeswoman Paige Rosenthal that the ship would arrive there late Wednesday local time. No cases of coronavirus have been reported aboard the Meraviglia or any other MSC ships, the company said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, MSC Cruises told USA TODAY that both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands had turned away MSC Meraviglia over one flu-stricken crew member without reviewing detailed medical records sent ahead of time.

The cruise line said that Jamaican authorities kept the ship in limbo at the port in Ocho Rios for hours, out of fear of the coronavirus, which memorably spread on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in recent weeks. 

The MSC Meraviglia was denied permission to dock in both the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.
The MSC Meraviglia was denied permission to dock in both the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.

The cruise line said in an earlier statement that it had screened all passengers and crew before embarkation to ensure no one had been to China, Hong Kong or Macao in the past 14 days or displayed symptoms of coronavirus.

The statement explained the ill crew member was isolated from the time he began to show flu symptoms “out of precaution” and he has “nearly recovered.” 

It added, “Moreover, no cases of COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus) have been reported on board MSC Meraviglia or any other ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet.”

Austrian hotel employee tests positive

The Grand Hotel Europa temporarily closed on Tuesday after one of its employees was identified as one of the two cases diagnosed in Innsbruck, Austria. Both patients are Italian citizens who had recently been in Lombardy.

The two who tested positive are in isolated treatment in Innsbruck, according to Martina Jamnig of the Austrian National Tourist Office. The hotel was closed for the day due to cautionary measures and testing but there are no signs of community spread.

Neither person is showing symptoms anymore, according to the Tirol Tourist Board.

One of the people who tested positive works at the hotel, where more than 60 people have been tested. All “were in good health,” according to a translated statement from the Austrian government in Tirol. Nine out of the 62 people tested were put in quarantine due to close contact with the woman. Three additional people were also quarantined.

“Isolation was ordered for the 12 people, which must last two weeks and be monitored by the police. In addition, the people must continuously monitor their health status for this period. The authorities informed everyone about the further procedure,” state governor Günther Platter and interior minister Karl Nehammer said in a statement.

The Tirol Tourist Board notes no restrictions on public life are currently in place, nor are there plans to close any borders.

Mauritius to Alitalia airline passengers: quarantine or go home

Alitalia flew 40 passengers from the Italian regions affected by coronavirus back from the East African country of Mauritius after that country said they'd have to enter local quarantine.
Alitalia flew 40 passengers from the Italian regions affected by coronavirus back from the East African country of Mauritius after that country said they’d have to enter local quarantine.

Italian airline Alitalia says that it flew 40 passengers from northern Italy, which had 374 cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday  – back to Rome after officials in the east African country of Mauritius told them they could either return or enter quarantine at local hospitals.

In a press release, Alitalia said that the Mauritian authorities waited until Flight AZ772 was on the ground at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Plaine Magnien before informing the airline of their decision.

“According to provisions of the Mauritius Authorities, not sent to the company before the flight’s arrival, the disembarkation of 40 people originating from Lombardy and Veneto regions would have been subject to a local quarantine,” the press release stated.

After conferring with the affected passengers and the Crisis Unit of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the airline opted to fly them home immediately. The rest of the flight’s 212 passengers and 12 crew were allowed to disembark.

On Tuesday, Italian authorities sealed off a dozen towns in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, taking Europe’s most stringent preventative measures against coronavirus and yet became home to the biggest outbreak outside Asia. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday announced a level 2 travel alert for Italy, citing coronavirus and recommending travelers “practice enhanced precautions” if visiting the country.

What we know about coronavirus in Italy:  Travel warning, quarantines, shutting down attractions

U.S. officials:  Four more Diamond Princess passengers have coronavirus; U.S. cases at 57

Contributing: Curtis Tate, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Fourth Diamond Princess passenger dead, MSC cruise docks

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