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Japan Quarantines More Than 3700 Over Coronavirus Scare

The Japanese government has quarantined a cruise ship – Diamond Princess – carrying over 3700 persons over fears that occupiers may be carrying the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) after a former passenger tested positive for the virus, Channelnewsasia has reported.

The government was testing those on board the ship as of Tuesday. 4th February 2020. Eight people who were on the vessel, which arrived in Yokohama Bay on Monday, have symptoms such as fever, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said.

Television images showed quarantine officers boarding the Diamond Princess on Monday evening to check all the 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members.

The government’s decision was sequel to the fact that an 80-year-old passenger, who disembarked on January 25 in Hong Kong from the same ship, tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus, which has already killed close to 400 people globally.

The cruise operator, Carnival Japan, said in a statement that the man in question “did not visit a medical centre inside the ship while he was sailing with us.”

“According to the hospital where he is staying, his condition is stable and infection was not found among his family members who sailed with him,” the statement said.

Channelnewsasia also reported that the Japanese Health Minister, Katsunobu Kato, said Japan would widen the scope of the screening for the 2019 novel coronavirus. This was because initial tests did not detect the virus in those who were later found to be infected.

A woman in her twenties who sailed on the ship with her mother told private broadcaster TBS on Tuesday that all passengers had been requested to stay in their rooms and wait for tests.

The departure of the vessel from Yokohama would be delayed by at least 24 hours to Wednesday or later, Carnival Japan, the cruise operator, said.

The decision to allow the cruise ship to dock and allow passengers to land on Japanese soil “will be made at the quarantine station,” a health official said.

Health Ministry officials said there were 20 confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV infection, out of which four showed no symptoms.

The 2019 novel coronavirus, which started in China has spread to 23 countries, infected 17, 391 people globally and with 362 deaths both within and outside China, according to the latest WHO Situation Report as of yesterday 3rd February 2020. The infection has already been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the UN Health Agency.

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