Coronavirus cases double on quarantined Diamond Princess

Chief cabinet secretary of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, speaking at a press conference. Credit: International Business

The number of coronavirus cases found on the quarantined Diamond Princess has more than doubled over the weekend to 130, with 69 cases confirmed over the weekend to 10 February 2020.

The figure added to the 61 infections that were confirmed from 5 to 7 February 2020.

Diamond Princess, part of Princess Cruises’ fleet, had arrived in Yokohama’s Daikoku Pier on 4 February but was quarantined after a former passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong last month, tested positive for the virus.

The ship was ordered to be quarantined for two weeks as the coronavirus has an incubation period of up to 14 days.

The test results have only intensified fears that the coronavirus has spread within the confines of the cruise ship, causing the Japanese health officials to consider testing everyone on board the ship.

As of 10 February, Japanese authorities have tested 336 people on board the Diamond Princess, which has more than 3,700 passengers and crew. The infected persons have been removed from the ship and taken to hospitals in various prefectures in Japan.

Originating in Wuhan, Hubei’s provincial capital, in December 2019, the coronavirus has infected nearly 40,000 people in China and killed more than 900 people. The death toll has surpassed the SARS outbreak in 2003. The coronavirus has also surfaced across Asia, parts of Europe, the UAE, and Australia, as well as North America, causing the World Health Organization to declare the situation a global health emergency.

The significant increase in positive coronavirus test results on the people on Diamond Princess has highlighted potential concerns with hygiene control, and the Japanese government is investigating this.

“We are considering testing, if possible, all those over 80 years old who are in ill health,” chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference on 10 February.

Meanwhile, some 3,600 passengers and crew in World Dream, a cruise ship quarantined in Hong Kong, have been allowed to disembark after everyone tested negative for the coronavirus.

The ship, which arrived in Hong Kong on 5 February, was quarantined after it transpired that three previous passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. Due to this, World Dream was asked to leave Kaohsiung port ahead of schedule on 4 February.