A Princess Cruises ship infected with Coronavirus has been held off the coast of Japan for the last two weeks in a bid to reduce the spread of the disease. Though the virus started in Wuhan, China, it has since been transferred across the globe to 29 countries.
When the virus was first detected onboard, the ship went into an immediate quarantine which was due to last 14 days.
As the fourteenth-day hits, however, some passengers could be facing another two-week stint on board the luxury cruise ship.
Rigorous testing from medical professionals has been ongoing for the last two weeks. So far, 500 cruise guests have been confirmed to carry the virus.
Each of them has been transferred from the ship and taken to medical facilities.
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Cruise: The passengers could face another 14 days of quarantine
However, it’s bad news for any passengers who were sharing a room with a coronavirus sufferer.
Those who test negative today will be allowed to go home, so long as they agree to go into an additional quarantined state in the UK according to reports.
Those that were sharing a room with a sufferer, though, may stay on board the ship for another two weeks string from the date they were separated from their cabin mate.
A British couple onboard the ship, who have since both tested positive for the virus, said that couples of all ages were being separated.
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In a video interview a week ago David Abel also said Princess Cruises were doing a great job, but that they still didn’t know what would wait in store.
He said: “What is going to happen to us? Are we going to be tested again? Is the 14-day period going to be extended from today?
“When we get back to the UK will we be going into a further quarantine. We have not got answers to those questions.”
However, after the number of infected passengers skyrocketed to 500 out of the 3,700 guests onboard, the cruise line decided to put in a second quarantine period for the ship.
Diamond Princess was due to depart Yokohama on 4 Feb for an eight-day round trip cruise.
However, the decision was made to cancel the cruise to allow Japan public health authorities to review the health status of those on board in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Checks began after an 80-year-old Hong Kong man fell ill with the virus.
A Princess Cruises spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Princess Cruises confirms announcements, made by the Japanese Ministry of Health, over the past 48 hours, that include a total of 169 new positive cases of COVID-19 onboard Diamond Princess.
“Nationality information for these new cases is still being verified.
“We continue to follow guidance from the Japanese Ministry of Health on plans for disembarkation protocols to provide medical care for these new cases.”
The UK government has confirmed that it is looking at getting the 78 British cruise passengers travelling on the Diamond Princess home.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released a statement early this morning, saying: “Given the conditions on board, we are working to organise a flight back to the UK for British nationals on the Diamond Princess as soon as possible.
“Our staff are contacting British nationals on board to make the necessary arrangements. We urge all those who have not yet responded to get in touch immediately.”
It follows action by the US government, which took the decision to evacuate some of its nationals from the ship last week.
They have since been waiting in quarantine in a military facility.