Crew of virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship start disembarking

Kyodo News

Posted at Feb 27 2020 10:28 PM

Some crew members aboard the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus, disembarked Thursday for further monitoring by doctors, the government said, as the number of domestic infections topped 900.

The disembarkation of the around 240 crew members, including many foreign nationals, who have tested negative for infection is expected to take several days, according to the health ministry. On Thursday, 91 of the crew as well as the last passenger left the ship.

They will be quarantined at the National Tax College in Wako in Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo, for 14 days and will be able to leave afterward if they continue to test negative for the virus, the ministry said.

The cruise ship was carrying 3,700 passengers and crew from 56 countries and regions when it arrived in Yokohama this month. Most of the passengers disembarked last week and some crew members also left Japan with the help of their governments.

In Japan, 20 more infections were confirmed, bringing the total to 914, with most linked to the quarantined ship. Meanwhile, an additional fatality was reported in Hokkaido with the domestic death toll rising to eight, including four from the Diamond Princess.

The quarantine began Feb. 3 after the vessel had made stops in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Taiwan, as well as Japan's southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa.