YOKOHAMA (NEWS 1130) – Five more Canadians on a cruise ship that has been quarantined off the coast of Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The new cases bring the total number of Canadians on board who have tested positive for the virus up to seven.
According to a statement from Princess Cruises Thursday, the Japanese Ministry of Health has confirmed an additional 41 people who underwent targeted screening onboard the Diamond Princess tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“We expect that local public health authorities will be disembarking these guests today for transport to local hospitals immediately,” the statement reads. “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.”
The people who tested positive include a person from Argentina, five from Australia, 21 from Japan, one from the United Kingdom, and eight from the United States, according to Japanese health officials.
The Japanese Ministry of Health said these people were part of the last batch to be tested. The quarantine end date will be Feb. 19, unless there are any other unforeseen developments.
Roger Maniscalco, who is from the Vancouver area, and his wife Karey, a U.S. citizen, are among those trapped on the ship, and say the uncertainty is the worst part about the whole situation.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen after this as well because even if they decide, ‘yes, that’s the date you guys are allowed to come off the ship,’ we don’t know whether or not, because we’re flying out of Japan, whether we’re going to be quarantined again because I live in the U.S.,” Maniscalco said.
There were already 20 passengers infected with the virus before these 41 additional confirmed cases.
As the Diamond Princess remains under lockdown, a second cruise ship, Holland America’s Westerdam, is also in Japanese waters and is not being allowed to dock. At least four other cruise ships, two foreign and two Japanese-operated, are headed to Japan by the end of the month, but that country’s transport minister is urging port authorities to turn the vessels away.