Five more Canadians on a cruise ship that has been quarantined off the coast of Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total on board the vessel to seven.
The Canadians were among 41 positive tests for the virus identified in the latest round of tests conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health, according to a statement from Princess Cruises, the operator of the Diamond Princess.
“This is the last batch to be tested and the quarantine end date will be Feb. 19, unless there are any other unforeseen developments,” said a statement from the cruise line.
The cruise line said the nationalities of the new cases, in addition to the Canadians, were one from Argentina, five from Australia, 21 from Japan, one from the United Kingdom and eight from the United States.
Another 20 passengers were previously identified as being infected with the virus. Two of those previous cases were Canadians.
Princess Cruises said local public health authorities will immediately disembark those guests for transport to local hospitals. It said staff are doing their best to make the quarantined passengers comfortable.
“Guests will continue to be provided complementary internet and telephone service to stay in contact with their family and loved ones,” it said.
“In addition, we have added additional live TV channels and a large selection of in-room movies available in multiple languages. The cruise activities staff is packaging games, puzzles and trivia and delivering them to guest staterooms.
“The health and safety of our guests and crew remains our top priority. We continue to work closely with the Japan Ministry of Health on all protocols and procedures.”
The ship carrying 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew was first quarantined in Yokohama on Tuesday following a confirmed outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says the Canadian mission in Tokyo has been in touch with the Canadian passengers on the ship to offer them consular assistance and the government will look to the cruise line to repatriate them when the quarantine is finished.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that Japan will deny entry of foreign passengers on another cruise ship heading to Japan — Holland America’s cruise ship Westerdam, on its way to Okinawa from Hong Kong — because of suspected virus patients found on the ship.
A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 31,400 people globally.
The latest figures report 636 deaths and 31,161 confirmed cases on mainland China. In addition, Hong Kong has had 22 cases, including one death. Macao has had 10 cases.
Most of the deaths have been in central Hubei province, where illnesses from the new type of coronavirus were first detected in December.
The Canadian Press