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Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan now has 135 cases

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship has nearly doubled. 

Sixty-six more people, including another 11 Americans, have fallen ill on the Princess Cruises cruise ship that is quarantined off the coast of Japan, meaning at least 135 passengers onboard have been diagnosed with coronavirus. At least 20 Americans in total have been diagnosed onboard. 

The ship was carrying 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew onboard when it set sail on Jan. 20.

Due to the quarantine, “it was not unexpected that additional cases would be reported involving individuals who were exposed prior to the start of the quarantine,” Princess Cruises said in a statement provided by Negin Kamali, director of public relations. The cruise line is working to confirm the total number of cases and the nationalities of all those infected.

Princess Cruises is working with authorities to plan for the passengers who have recently become ill to disembark so that they can be taken to a hospital.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship sits docked at Daikoku Pier in Yokohama, Japan, Feb. 7, 2020  where it is resupplied and people with newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment as the ship remains in quarantine.

The cruise ship is one of several affected by the deadly coronavirus outbreak, which has prompted cruise lines to issue quarantines and perform screenings onboard. Meanwhile, some ports are denying at least one cruise ship entry over fears of the virus. 

The coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, has spread across the globe with more than 42,763 confirmed cases and 1,013 deaths as of Monday evening. The majority of the cases are in mainland China. Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

One American has died in China, the U.S. embassy in Beijing reported Saturday morning. And the coronavirus death toll surpassed the SARS outbreak of 2002 to 2003.

The Diamond Princess is scheduled to remain under quarantine until Feb. 19, pending any unforeseen circumstances.

‘It’s almost like we’re on the ship alone’

Passengers on the ship have been instructed to stay in their suites or cabins during the quarantine. 

Those in interior cabins with no window or outdoor access have been able to go on deck for up to an hour and a half but must stay at least a meter (about 3 feet) from fellow passengers, Matt Smith, an attorney from Sacramento, California, told USA TODAY on Friday. 

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