In a fresh case of infection spreading beyond China's borders, around 10 passengers onboard a cruise ship that arrived in Japan's Yokohama from Hong Kong has been infected with the deadly Coronavirus, Japanese media reported. Japan's Health Ministry said there were about 3,700 passengers and crew on board the ship.
A passenger on the Diamond Princess, operated by Carnival Corp’s Princess Cruises, tested positive for the virus after leaving the ship in Hong Kong on January 25.
"Around 10 new coronavirus-infected passengers on a cruise ship anchored off the port of Yokohama," a leading Japanese TV news channel said on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Speaking to reporters, Japan's Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said that those 10 infected with Coronavirus, would be sent to the hospital. The minister advised all other passengers to remain on the ship for 14 more days as part of the quarantine protocol.
The quarantine began after an 80-year-old man boarded the ship, run by Carnival Japan, in Yokohama on January 20 and disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25.
As part of the screening process, passengers said masked health workers clad in blue plastic gowns have been walking down empty corridors as well as views of deserted lounges and a barren deck. Guests awaiting screening were asked to stay in their rooms, where they answered a questionnaire and had their temperatures taken.
After the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), Japan has advised its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to China.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe informed that Japan has raised the travel warning for China to a level two, on its four-point warning system, urging people to ‘avoid travel that is not urgent or is not necessary’. Japan has 20 confirmed cases, of these 17 people have been in Wuhan.
Last week, Japan began refusing entry to foreigners who have been in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, in the past 14 days as well as people with passports issued in Hubei. Abe told a parliamentary panel the government would be flexible about expanding areas in China from which visitors would be banned, depending on trends in China.
(With inputs from agencies)
(Image courtesy: AP)