February 7, 2020

61 coronavirus cases confirmed on cruise ship off Japan

Cruise Ship, Coronavirus

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 61 onboard the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship filled with thousands of passengers quarantined off a port near Tokyo prompting one stranded American to plead with President Trump for help.

Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato announced at a news conference Friday that another 41 people on the liner, operated by Carnival Japan Inc., had tested positive for the deadly illness, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 61. All of them have been removed from the ship and taken to local hospitals.

Eleven of those passengers are Americans, the Washington Post reported.

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Meanwhile, the remaining passengers including American honeymooners Milena Basso and Gaetano Cerullo — are stranded on the ship, only allowed out on the deck briefly for air.

“Donald Trump, save us,” Basso told CNN. “Get us a government-based airplane. Get us off the ship.”

“We just don’t feel like we’re safe,” Basso added. “We should be quarantined in a sanitary environment that’s safe, not on a cruise ship that’s already infected.”

Passengers have been instructed not to leave their rooms, and officials have only given “vague” updates, according to Basso.

Another American couple aboard the Diamond Princess, Rebecca and Kent Frasure, were forced to separate when Rebecca, 35, tested positive for the illness and had to leave immediately, CNN reported. Kent, 42, remained on the ship uninfected.

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Rebecca’s only symptom when she tested positive was a cough, she told the network shortly before she was forced to disembark.

“It is terrible, I could never imagine that this could be happening right now,” she said. “[The hardest part] is the unknown. Like, I don’t know what’s going to happen an hour from now.”

Kent told the network he thinks it’s only a matter of time before he’s infected, too.

“[But] you roll with the punches and try to make the best of things as you can,” he said.

Twenty-eight of those infected aboard the ship are from Japan, seven from Australia, seven from Canada, three from Hong Kong, one from Argentina, Britain, New Zealand, and Taiwan, and one Filipino crew member, the Washington Post reported, citing Japanese media.

One person is in serious condition, according to the report.

The ship was quarantined Tuesday after a Hong Kong man who sailed on the vessel last month tested positive for the virus.

The 80-year-old man flew to Japan and boarded the ship on Jan. 20, and disembarked in Hong Kong on Jan. 25, according to Carnival Japan, Inc.

The coronavirus has infected more than 31,000 people globally — at least 638 of whom have died, according to reports.

New York Post

Vanguard News