The number of diagnosed cases of coronavirus on a Princess Cruises ship quarantined off the coast of Yokohoma, Japan, has tripled to 61, according to a report from the cruise line late Thursday.
The Japanese Ministry of Health notified Princess Cruises that an additional 41 people screened aboard the Diamond Princess have tested positive for coronavirus. Eight of those patients that have tested positive are Americans, according to the cruise line. On Wednesday, Princess Cruises confirmed 20 diagnosed cases of coronavirus on the ship, which was already under a 14-day quarantine.
Guests testing positive are expected to be transported to local hospitals immediately.
Japanese health officials confirmed the completion of onboard testing late Thursday night, according to a statement from the cruise line. The quarantine will end on Feb. 19, pending any unforeseen circumstances.
As of Friday morning, a total of 31,523 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed across the world, and the virus has caused 638 deaths. Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, can be spread by coughing, sneezing and through close contact with an infected person or an object carrying the virus.
Diamond Princess: Cruise ship to stay under quarantine after 10 more passengers test positive
“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 while ensuring the comfort and well-being of our guests,” Princess Cruises’ Public Relations Director Negin Kamali said in the statement.
The Japanese government is providing assistance to the crew, according to Princess Cruises.
The cruise line promised, “Guests will continue to be provided complimentary internet and telephone … the ship’s company is working to keep all guests comfortable.”
The crew will also be preparing packages of activities including puzzles, trivia and games for guests.
But David Abel, one of the 3,700 passengers aboard the ship, lamented on Facebook, “It’s not going to be a luxury cruise; it’s going to be like a floating prison.”
‘A floating prison’: Diamond Princess cruise passengers on two-week coronavirus quarantine
Abel, who had booked the East Asian cruise to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary, told the Associated Press he anticipates the additional two weeks at sea is going to be “absolute boredom” for many pass engers, adding, “the people I feel really sorry for are those with inside cabins who’ve got no natural light, no fresh air. It’s going to be pretty grim for them for two weeks.”
Others are making the most of the quarantine. Matt Smith and Katherine and Codekas told USA TODAY that they are making the best of the situation and feel fortunate to have a balcony and fresh air.
Holland America works to revise MS Westerdam itinerary after Guam, Japan deny entry
The U.S. territory of Guam denied the MS Westerdam entry due to worries about coronavirus, rejecting a request from the State Department that the island allow the ship to dock, reported The Pacific Daily News, a local newspaper and part of the USA TODAY Network.
The latest: Guam denies entry to ship over coronavirus concerns
It’s the third time the ship has been turned away from a port: the Philippines and Japan also denied the MS Westerdam entry.
According to the cruise line, there are no known cases of coronavirus on board despite reports to the contrary, and the MS Westerdam is not in quarantine.
“We have no reason to believe there are cases of coronavirus on board,” Erik Elvejord, Holland America’s public relations director, said in an email Friday morning.
Elvejord estimated that the cruise line will be able to announce an updated itinerary for MS Westerdam by Saturday.
A release from the governor’s office stated acting Gov. Josh Tenorio denied entry to the ship after consulting with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
“While we feel for every soul on board the MS Westerdam. Our obligation is to protect the people of Guam,” Leon Guerrero said. “Though Guam is prepared to deal with the potential implications of the coronavirus, few jurisdictions can screen, quarantine, or treat 1,400 patients at one time. We respect that Guam has a duty to the nation we love, but that duty cannot jeopardize the health and safety of our people.”
Holland America has also canceled the next cruise that was scheduled to embark in Yokohama on Feb. 15 and that it will notify guests and travel agents.
Earlier in the cruise, the ship was forced to skip a port call in Manila after the Philippines wouldn’t allow any foreigners aboard the Westerdam to disembark there. The move was due to the country’s temporary ban on non-citizens or permanent residents entering directly from China, Hong Kong or Macau, Holland America confirmed to Australia’s News.com.au.
As of Feb. 7, Japan has reported 86confirmed cases of coronavirus including the Diamond Princess cases. The Philippines has had two, including the only death from the virus outside of China and Hong Kong on Feb. 2.
Mainland China has had over 31,200 cases and 636 deaths, while Hong Kong has had 25 cases and one death. With an additional 313 confirmed cases around the globe.
According to the ship-tracking website Vesselfinder.com, MS Westerdam, which can accommodate more than 1,900 passengers and 800 crew, has been in transit for four days since leaving the port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on Monday, Prior to that, it made port calls in Hong Kong (Jan. 31); Cai Mep, Vietnam (Jan. 22); Kampong Saom, Cambodia (Jan. 21); and Laem Chabang, Thailand (Jan. 18).
Each of the countries on the cruise’s current itinerary has had confirmed cases: Hong Kong has had 25 cases and one death. Thailand has 25;Taiwan has 16 while Vietnam has 10. South Korea, which the ship is yet to visit, has 24. Cambodia is the least impacted with just one case reported so far.
In the three previous cases in which cruise ships were quarantined over coronavirus concerns, local health authorities boarded each vessel to test passengers and crew for the virus. In addition to Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess, a second ship, Dream Cruises’ World Dream, is still conducting tests on those currently aboard after three people from a previous cruise tested positive. Passengers on the third, Costa Cruises’ Costa Smeralda, were permitted to disembark in Italy on Jan. 30 after everyone aboard tested negative.
‘A floating prison’: Diamond Princess cruise passengers on two-week coronavirus quarantine
World Dream: 33 crew members test negative, passenger tests underway
On Thursday evening, the Hong Kong government released a statement on the quarantine and testing of passengers and crew aboard World Dream, which is owned by holding company Genting Hong Kong Limited. Everyone currently on the ship was tested after three passengers from a previous cruise tested positive.
One passenger developed a fever and was sent to the hospital for treatment and relevant testing. Eight others had mild respiratory symptoms and are being tested for the virus.
The ship said Friday in an emailed statement that they had contacted all previous 206 passengers from the cruise that disembarked on Jan. 24. They have also submitted the contact information of those passengers to the Department of Health upon request.
On Thursday, Genting Hong Kong Limited, the holding company that owns Dream Cruises, told USA TODAY that 33 World Dream crew members who had reported upper respiratory tract infections tested negative for coronavirus. An additional employee with a fever is still awaiting test results.
“Dream Cruises is fully cooperating with The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health to assist in expediting the health assessments for all passengers onboard World Dream,” the company said in a statement provided by Dream Cruises spokeswoman Edith Poon. The statement, which noted there are nine children under the age of 2 on board. The passenger screenings are being “conducted in-cabin to avoid the congregating of guests as much as possible.”
It continued, “However, due to this situation, no passengers or crew will be allowed to disembark from World Dream until the test results from the affected crew members have been confirmed.”
The cruise line said it would continue to provide food and drink services to the 3,700 people aboard but that activities had been curtailed.
“Currently, there are sufficient supplies for all passengers and crew members and complimentary Wi-Fi service is also available for all passengers onboard,” the statement noted. “As well, protective facial masks have always been, and will continue to be, available for passengers who can register at the Front Desk for collection.”
The statement said there are 1,871 passengers – “with 1,692 from Hong Kong and the remainder of various nationalities including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Taiwan and Macau” on board, as well as 1,820 crew members.
The company said no one currently aboard had contact with the three people who were present from Jan. 19 to Jan. 24 cruise that tested positive for coronavirus.
On Thursday evening, the Hong Kong government released a statement on the ship’s quarantine and ongoing testing. One passenger developed a fever and was sent to the hospital for treatment and relevant testing. Eight others had mild respiratory symptoms and are being tested for the virus.
The ship said Friday in an emailed statement that they had contacted all 206 passengers from the cruise that disembarked on Jan. 24. They have also submitted the contact information of those passengers to the Department of Health upon request.
According to a release from the cruise line, passengers on the current cruise had no contact with passengers on the former cruise and no passengers are from Mainland China.
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Contributing: Jerick Sablan, Pacific Daily News