Another 39 people have tested positive for the coronavirus on the cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined in Japan, with one quarantine officer also infected, bringing the total to 175, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
The Diamond Princess was placed in quarantine for two weeks upon arriving in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on February 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.
Day 5: A memory from what should have been our final day on the ship. Passenger chorus sings a Japanese folk song. Oldest passenger, 91, is in the group. #Quarantine #diamondprincess pic.twitter.com/JRjnmmMOuB— quarantinedondiamondprincess (@quarantinedond1) February 9, 2020
The epidemic originated in mainland China, where more than 1,100 people have now died from the virus.
About 3,700 people are on board the ship, which usually has a crew of 1,100 and a passenger capacity of 2,670.
The ministry said tests were being conducted for others deemed to need them and it would announce the results later.
The British-flagged Diamond Princess is managed by Princess Cruise Lines, one of the world’s largest cruise lines and a unit of Carnival Corp.
Kyodo news agency, citing the health ministry, said that of the 39 cases, 10 were crew and 29 were passengers.
Ten were Japanese nationals and the others were from 11 countries including the United States and China. Four were in serious condition, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said.
People testing positive for the virus are taken off the ship to hospital.
The quarantine officer who was infected had been handing out questionnaires checking the health of passengers and crew since February 3, and had been following rules that require the wearing of a mask and gloves but not a full protective suit, according to the Nikkei business daily, quoting the health ministry.
“It’s terrible about the quarantine officer,” one passenger on the ship, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
“The ones who came to our room to do the initial screening had gloves and surgical masks, while the ones who came to do the actual virus test also had full gowns and full face masks.