Japan has reportedly said that it will allow elderly passengers on the quarantined cruise liner Diamond Princess to disembark ahead of schedule if they test negative for coronavirus, health minister of Japan confirmed to the media reports. As of Thursday, 44 new cases were detected aboard the vessel docked in Japan's Yokohama, spiking the total figures to at least 219, including five crew members.
Stefano Ravera, the Captain of the cruise liner confirmed to the media that everyone over the age of 80 is now been tested for the novel coronavirus in the health screening phase and all those with a chronic medical condition that test negative will be transferred to government housing facilities until February 19.
Health Minister of Japan, Katsunobu Kato told the international media, that elderly passengers who have pre-existing medical conditions, those in windowless rooms or cabins onboard the ship would be allowed to leave starting Friday. He further emphasized that this was a week earlier than the originally targeted date February 19. He said, however, those people need to complete their quarantine ashore.
According to the reports, the confirmed cases of coronavirus toll soaring to at least 218 plus one quarantine officer, has raised concerns about the conditions on the ship worldwide, as approximately 3,500 people remain in lockdown on the ship. About 80 per cent of the ship's passengers were aged 60 or over, with 215 in their 80s and 11 in their 90s, as per the Japanese reporter’s index.
The ship typically has a crew of 1,100 and a passenger capacity of 2,670. The liner was docked off on arrival in Yokohama, near Tokyo after a Hong Conger disembarked the liner and was tested positive for coronavirus before the vessel’s arrival in Japan. The British-flagged Diamond Princess, operated by Princess Cruise Lines, is one of the world's largest cruise lines and a unit of Carnival Corp.
(With agency inputs)