10 People Test Positive for Coronavirus Aboard Diamond Princess

Diamond Princess (file image)

Published Feb 4, 2020 10:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

10 people on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus strain, Princess Cruises confirmed Tuesday. 

In a statement, Princess told media that during a first stage of screening for the vessel's 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crewmembers, 10 individuals had tests that came back positive for the coronavirus. The 10 people affected will be transferred to a Japan Coast Guard vessel and will be transported to a local hospital. Diamond Princess and those remaining on board will remain under quarantine off Yokohama for at least the next two weeks. 

Diamond Princess was quarantined for a health inspection last weekend after one former passenger from the vessel tested positive for the coronavirus. The passenger - an 80-year-old resident of Hong Kong - boarded the vessel in Yokohama on January 20 and disembarked in Hong Kong five days later. He tested positive for the disease at a hospital in Hong Kong on February 1, and he is now in stable condition. 

The delay for Diamond Princess is not the first cruise ship quarantine related to a suspected coronavirus case. On January 30, health authorities at the port of Civitavecchia, Italy briefly quarantined 6,000 cruise passengers while testing one individual for the possibility of a coronavirus infection aboard the Costa Smeralda. The individual tested negative for the disease and the passengers were allowed to depart later the same day. 

Public health measures extend beyond checks for cruise passengers who may have been exposed in their immediate surroundings. The United States, Australia and Singapore have closed their borders to anyone who has traveled in China within 14 days, and the major cruise lines have enacted similar policies to match.

In some cases, this transition has played out on board. On January 28, the P&O cruise vessel Pacific Explorer embarked 81 passengers with Chinese passports in Sydney and got under way on a voyage for Singapore. However, the ship had to disembark these passengers early in Cairns, because Singaporean authorities signaled that they would not admit them into the country.