Ten people have tested positive for coronavirus onboard Diamond Princess cruise ship, a health screening conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health shows.
The infected persons include two Australian guests, three Japanese guests, three guests from Hong Kong, and one guest from the U.S. in addition to one Filipino crewmember, Princess Cruises confirmed to World Maritime News in a statement.
“These 10 persons, who have been notified, will be taken ashore by Japanese Coast Guard watercraft and transported to local hospitals for care by shoreside Japanese medical professionals,” the company said.
The ship will remain under quarantine in Yokohama for at least 14 days, as required by the Ministry of Health.
The cruise company said that there are 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew currently onboard covering a range of nationalities. Approximately half the guests onboard are from Japan.
“The ship plans to go out to sea to perform normal marine operations including, but not limited to, the production of fresh water and ballast operations before proceeding alongside in Yokohama where food, provisions, and other supplies will be brought onboard,” Princess Cruises added.
“Guests will continue to be provided complimentary internet and telephone to use in order to stay in contact with their family and loved ones, and the ship’s crew is working to keep all guests comfortable. ”
Princess Cruises added that it would cancel the next two Diamond Princess cruises departing Yokohama, on Feb 4 and Feb 12, respectively.
“We will continue to fully cooperate with and follow the instructions of global medical authorities and the Japanese government,” the cruise operator concluded.
Cruise liners like Carnival and Royal Caribbean have had to cancel their sailings from China amid the outbreak.
Royal Caribbean has canceled eight cruises out of China ending March 4, and also modified certain itineraries in the region which overall have an estimated impact of USD 0.25 per share.
The company has also implemented several measures to protect guests and crew.
In its latest update, Royal Caribbean said it would deny boarding to any individual who has traveled from, to or through mainland China or Hong Kong in the past 15 days. These guests will receive full refunds.
Furthermore, the cruise operator has introduced mandatory specialized health screenings for guests who have been in contact with individuals who have traveled from, to or through mainland China or Hong Kong in the past 15 days, all holders of China or Hong Kong passports – regardless of when they were last in China or Hong Kong, as well as guests who report feeling unwell or demonstrate flu-like symptoms.
“There are still too many variables and uncertainties regarding this outbreak to calculate the impact on the business. For example, we expect that an erosion of consumer confidence in China could have an additional impact on load factor and rate until the market normalizes. If these travel restrictions and concerns over the outbreak continue for an extended period of time, they could have a material impact on the overall financial performance of the company,” the company explained.
The latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the death toll from the novel coronavirus has passed 490 in China. One person died from the coronavirus in the Philippines.
A total of 20,471 infection cases have been confirmed in cities and provinces across China. The figures from other regions are lower, however, infections have been reported in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Viet Nam, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, India, U.S., Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Finland, the UK, Russia, and U.A.E.
World Maritime News Staff