Thousands of people face spending the next fortnight stuck on a luxury cruise ship quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama, after initial results showed 10 passengers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The Diamond Princess, with more than 3,700 passengers and crew onboard, had been prevented from sailing on Monday after an 80-year-old passenger who had travelled on the vessel late last month tested positive after he arrived home in Hong Kong.
All 10 cases are in those over the age of 50, Japanese broadcaster NHK said.
Four are in their 50s, four are in their 60s, one is in their 70s, and another one is in their 80s. Two of them are said to be Japanese, and none are in “serious condition”, NHK said.
Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the confirmed cases were among 31 results from 273 people tested so far.
Two Australians are among the 10 people who have tested positive, the cruise company Carnival confirmed. The other people infected are three Japanese, three from Hong Kong, one American and one Filipino crewmember. The patients, who are reportedly aged in their 50s to their 80s, were being removed from the ship by the coast guard and taken to local hospitals.
Officials on the cruise ship began screening guests on Monday evening, and the vessel was placed under quarantine on Tuesday.