Ten people from a cruise ship quarantined off Japan have tested positive for the novel coronavirus that has sickened more than 20,000 people in China and caused more than 420 deaths, officials said.
Japan’s health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said Wednesday local time that those 10 people from the Diamond Princess will be escorted to a facility in Kanagawa Prefecture, where Yokohama is located.
Princess Cruises has said that a guest who later tested positive for coronavirus sailed from Yokohama on Jan. 20 and disembarked at Hong Kong on Jan. 25.
That person did not report any symptoms while on the ship but tested positive Feb. 1 after visiting a Hong Kong hospital, the cruise line said.
That confirmation set off a round of testing for 273 people who either showed symptoms or had close contact with the coronavirus patient who disembarked in Hong Kong, Kato said.
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Of the first 31 people tested, 10 people tested positive for the virus, he said. The samples from the other 242 passengers and crew are still being tested.
Those 10 people showed signs of novel coronavirus, but none needed to be carried off the ship on stretchers, Kato said. He did not disclose details as to whether the 10 who have tested positive were all passengers or if that number included the crew.
The cruise ship has about 3,700 aboard — 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew, according to the cruise ship company. They will be held in protective quarantine for between 10 and 14 days, Kato said at a news conference.
“Princess Cruises will continue to fully cooperate with and follow the instructions of global medical authorities and the Japanese government,” the cruise company said.
It added that the ship would ensure those who are quarantined have internet and phone access and would be made comfortable.
Princess Cruises said in a statement that two future cruises that had been scheduled to leave Yokohama on Tuesday and Feb. 12 have been canceled.
By Tuesday, more than 20,000 novel coronavirus cases were confirmed in mainland China, with 425 deaths, China’s national health commission said. The illness was first detected in Wuhan, China, which is at the center of the outbreak.
There are 11 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Others are being tested. The U.S. has suspended entry for foreign nationals who have visited China in the last 14 days and announced other measures for people coming into the country from China.