First passengers moved from quarantined ship off Japan

By AFP
Published: February 14, 2020
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PHOTO: Reuters

PHOTO: Reuters

YOKOHAMA: An initial group of passengers who tested negative for new coronavirus moved from a quarantined cruise ship off Japan’s coast on Friday to finish their isolation in government-designated lodging.

A Japanese government official confirmed 11 passengers aged 80 and over were taken off the Diamond Princess and transported to facilities where they will stay until the quarantine ends on February 19.

At the dock where the ship is moored, a bus with blacked-out windows pulled away from the boat, driven by a person in head-to-toe protective gear including a mask and goggles.

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More than 200 people on board the ship have been diagnosed with the virus since it arrived off Japan’s coast on February 3 and was placed in quarantine.

Passengers on board have been asked to remain in their cabins except for brief stints on the open deck while wearing masks and gloves.

Concerned about the stress the conditions are placing on the several hundred elderly passengers on the ship, Japanese authorities said they would allow those who meet certain conditions and test negative for the virus to complete their quarantine on land if they choose.

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