An additional 66 cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess currently harbored in Yokohama, Japan while under quarantine.
The infected passengers are from Australia (four), Canada (one), England (one), Japan (45), Philippines (three), Ukraine (one) and USA (eleven), Princess Cruises, owner of the vessel said in an update.
Following confirmation of a case of 2019-nCoV on February 5, all crew and passengers are being quarantined for a 14-day period on board the vessel, asked to stay in their cabins and to wear a mask when leaving their cabin.
To remind, last week 10 people tested positive for coronavirus onboard the cruise ship, after a health screening conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the crew and passengers are closely followed-up and are medically examined and tested for 2019-nCoV when displaying any signs or symptoms suggestive of 2019-nCoV disease.
The quarantine period is scheduled to come to an end on 19 February.
WHO added that all individuals testing positive were disembarked and admitted for medical care in infectious disease hospitals in the Yokohama area.
“Close contacts of the infected passengers are asked to remain in quarantine for 14 days from the last contact with a confirmed case. Thus, the quarantine period will be extended beyond the February 19 as appropriate only for close contacts of newly confirmed cases,” the organization said.
Epidemiological and environmental investigations are ongoing, WHO added.
“We are following guidance from the Japan Ministry of Health on plans for disembarkation protocols to provide medical care for these new cases,” the company said.
“Since it is early in the quarantine period of 14-days, it was not unexpected that additional cases would be reported involving individuals who were exposed prior to the start of the quarantine.”
The company added that the Japan Ministry of Health has been the lead public health authority defining the testing protocols for all guests and crew on Diamond Princess, adding that questions on the timeline, test results, and reporting protocols should be directed to them.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has stepped up its safety protocols as a response to recent developments concerning the 2019-novel coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the global cruise industry.
- CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.
- CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having Coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to Novel Coronavirus.
- CLIA Members are to conduct preboarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected Novel Coronavirus.
“In coordination with cruise lines, medical experts and regulators around the world, CLIA and its member lines will continue to closely monitor for new developments related to the coronavirus and will modify these policies as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of passengers and crew,” CLIA said.
World Maritime News Staff