Cruise

Holland America cruise passenger diagnosed with coronavirus, as Diamond Princess cases jump to 355

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Japanese authorities have confirmed a further 70 cases of coronavirus on Diamond Princess, while a passenger who has disembarked from Westerdam has tested positive for the disease.

The new cases on board the Princess Cruises ship brings the number of passengers and crew infected to 355.

Japan’s health minister confirmed the cases were from 289 new tests and 38 of them have no symptoms, according to ABC News.

The Australian embassy said last week 16 Australians on the ship tested positive for the virus but it is not known if that number has risen with the new cases.

There are more than 200 Australians on board Diamond Princess.

The ship, which has been docked in Yokohama, Japan since 1 February, is set to end its quarantine on Wednesday.

Passengers have been given the option to finish the quarantine at a shoreside facility, with the most medically vulnerable getting first priority, including older adults with pre-existing health conditions.

The US, Italy, Canada and Hong Kong have all said they will operate chartered flights to bring their citizens home once they get off the ship.

Meanwhile, an 83-year old woman from the US has tested positive for the disease after disembarking from a Holland America Line ship that was left stranded in the South China Sea for over a week.

The cruise line said in a statement that testing carried out in Malaysia on a Westerdam passenger who disembarked in Cambodia and was on her way home returned positive for the virus.

The passenger departed Westerdam February 14 and later reported feeling ill at the Kuala Lumpur airport. She was taken to the hospital and is reported to be in stable condition. However, her travelling companion tested negative for the virus.

“At this time, no other guests or crew, either on board or on their way home, have reported any symptoms of the illness. Guests who have already returned home will be contacted by their local health department and be provided further information,” the cruise line said.

According to Holland America Line, all 2,257 guests were screened for the illness on 10 February and were tested again upon disembarking in Cambodia.

Westerdam is alongside at Sihanoukville, Cambodia, with 747 crew and 233 guests who are awaiting their final travel arrangements. The remainder of guests from the voyage departed Sihanoukville via charter flights to Phnom Penh and are in various stages of transit home.

Royal Caribbean has backflipped on its ban on Chinese passport holders, which was imposed out of fear of further spread.

Passengers reportedly accused the line of discrimination after it announced it would not allow passengers to board if they held a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport.

However, the line will keep in place a 15-day restriction for people who have travelled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau.

On Thursday the line confirmed it had cancelled 18 cruises in South East Asia and warned its full-year earnings would be affected by the outbreak to the tune of 25 per cent, Reuters has reported.

Coronavirus has infected approximately 69,000 people around the world, with 68,500 in mainland China alone, and 1,670 people have died of the disease.

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