The crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan’s port of Yokohama for three weeks over the novel coronavirus outbreak will start leaving the vessel on Thursday, the Kyodo news agency reported.
Some 1,000 crew members and staff are still onboard the ship. After disembarking from the coronavirus-stricken ship, they will be accommodated at a college in Saitama, a prefecture near Tokyo, and will be examined by doctors. The number of coronavirus cases onboard the ship has reached 705.
The Diamond Princess left Japan’s Yokohama for a 15-day cruise on January 20 and returned to the port on February 3. The cruise ship was quarantined after a Chinese man who disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25 had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to Japanese authorities, there were about 3,700 passengers and crew members from 50 countries aboard, including 24 Russian nationals. Since February 5, a two-week quarantine was declared.
An effort to evacuate nearly 1,000 passengers from the Diamond Princess who tested negative for the virus lasted on February 19-21. There are no Russians onboard the vessel now - some of them, including those infected with the virus, were evacuated to Kazan, the Tatarstan Republic, while the others left Japan independently, TASS reports.
The US, South Korea, Australia, Israel, Canada and Hong Kong evacuated their nationals by charter flights.
A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple foci.
The cases of the novel coronavirus have also been reported in 42 other countries, including Russia. Authorities in China have registered 2,744 deaths. More than 78,400 people have contracted the virus and another 32,400 have recovered to date.