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Diamond Princess cruise ship to let some passengers off

Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been under a 14-day quarantine off the coast of Japan after multiple passengers were diagnosed with coronavirus in early February, will let some of its passengers off the ship early.

The cruise line also confirmed 44 new cases Thursday, bringing the total number of people on the ship who have fallen ill with the virus to at least 218, with at least 20 of Americans in that group.

While all Diamond Princess guests are still allowed to remain on board through the end of the Feb. 19 quarantine period, Japanese health officials plan to start a voluntary process to let passengers off the ship.

Princess Cruises, which has had at least 218 cases of coronavirus, announced Thursday that some passengers complete the rest of their 14-day quarantine at onshore facilities in Japan.

It will happen in phases. Older adults with pre-existing health conditions and more of the “most medically vulnerable guests” will be let off first, according to an update from the cruise line, provided by Negin Kamali, director of public relations. 

Guests will be tested for coronavirus prior to disembarking: Those who test positive will be transported to a local hospital, while those who test negative will be allowed to leave and head to a quarantine housing facility.

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