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Coronavirus: Couple Stranded on Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Japan

Japan has found 39 more coronavirus cases aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess luxury cruise ship that has become the center of the largest outbreak outside China.

On their 7th day of quarantine, here’s how this couple is spending their time stranded on the Diamond Princess off the Yokohama port.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato announced the results of the latest round of tests conducted on some of the 3,500 passengers and crew who remain aboard Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess at the port of Yokohama. The new cases bring the total infections from the ship to 174 people of the 492 who have so far been tested, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Separately, a quarantine officer who had been aboard the cruise ship has also been infected, the ministry said.

Ministry officials gave the following details on the case:

The male officer had been involved in collecting health questionnaires and taking temperatures on the ship, Feb. 3-4
The official had been wearing a mask and gloves, and had disinfected his hands regularly while on duty
The official continued to work at a quarantine center until Feb. 7, developed a fever Feb. 9 and was diagnosed Feb. 10
Infections aboard the cruise ship, together with other cases detected in Japan, have now reached a total of 203.

Expanded Ban
As it struggles to control the spread of the virus that originated in China, its biggest trading partner, Japan said it would ban entry by foreigners who have visited the mainland’s Zhejiang province. This adds to an existing bar on those who have visited Hubei province, the epicenter of the infection, within the past 14 days.

“It is essential that we take more comprehensive and flexible border measures to stop the flow of infections into our country,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said as he announced the expanded travel ban, which will take effect Feb. 13.

Four of the people taken to the hospital after being found to be infected with the virus aboard the Diamond Princess are in serious condition, the Health Ministry said. All four are men in their 60s or 70s, three of them Japanese citizens and one of another nationality, according to the ministry.

Japan is building up its capacity to test for the virus by adding private medical facilities to the public institutions that have been carrying out the tests, Abe told reporters. The goal is to develop the capability to test 1,000 samples a day by Feb. 18 from the current 300, he said.

A separate cruise vessel also operated by Carnival, the Westerdam, is scouring the region for a berth after being refused entry by Japan and several other countries on concerns about the virus.

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