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People On Board Quarantined Cruise Ship Test Positive For Coronavirus

Updated

The Diamond Princess cruise ship, with over 3,700 people quarantined on board due to fears of the new coronavirus, arrives at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 6.

An additional 10 people on board a cruise ship docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama have tested positive for China's coronavirus, doubling the number previously reported, with test results on more than 170 still pending.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on February 5 that all of the 3,700 people onboard the Diamond Princess will be quarantined on the vessel for up to 14 days. Those infected with the virus were moved to medical facilities.

Japan's Foreign Ministry has informed Russia's Embassy in Tokyo that 24 Russian nationals were on board.

The embassy said no Russian passengers had been detected with the virus, adding on its Facebook page that it "continues its work to help the Russian citizens who are on board the cruise ship."

A man on the Diamond Princess cruise ship told RFE/RL that there were also at least 20 Ukrainian passengers.

The number of infected on the ship could rise as checks are ongoing.

Some 3,600 people on a second cruise ship docked in Hong Kong are also being tested for the coronavirus, as Chinese health authorities are stepping up efforts to control the outbreak.

The virus has killed 563 people in mainland China, with more than 28,000 confirmed cases.

On February 6, Chinese authorities in the epicenter city of Wuhan warned they face a severe shortage of hospital beds and equipment needed to treat the growing number of patients, despite the emergency construction of a new hospital and the converting of public buildings to handle thousands of extra patients.

Hu Lishan, an official in the quarantined city, said there was also a shortage of "equipment and materials" and that the authorities are looking to convert other hotels and schools into treatment facilities.

Millions of Chinese have been ordered to not leave their homes and much of Hubei Province, home to more than 50 million people, is subject to quarantine measures.

More than two dozen large trade fairs and industry conferences in Asia have been postponed because of the spread of the coronavirus, canceling events where billions of dollars worth of deals have been signed in the past.

The venue of China's oldest and biggest trade fair, the Canton Fair, has suspended exhibitions until further notice. The Canton Fair was due to hold its spring exhibition in April. Last year, almost $30 billion worth of deals were signed at the event.

Kazpost, the postal operator of neighboring Kazakhstan, has stopped moving mail to and from China amid the outbreak there, Kazpost said on February 6. Kazakhstan has also banned the export of protective masks to China.

Some two dozen countries have reported more than 175 confirmed cases of the pathogen and there are cases of human transmission between people who have not visited China recently.

The outbreak has prompted several governments, including Russia and the United States, to institute travel restrictions and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.

On February 5, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said the government was banning transit flights from China to keep foreigners from landing in Russia.

Moscow had already restricted direct flights to China and has said it may deport foreigners who test positive for coronavirus.

The Russian Embassy in Beijing on February 5 reported that 128 Russian nationals had been evacuated from Hubei.

Uzbekistan's Health Ministry said that it had repatriated 84 Uzbek nationals from Wuhan.

The Uzbek Health Ministry said in a statement on February 5 that the majority of those repatriated were students studying in China, and that "none of them is suspected of having the new coronavirus."

The epidemic, which has been designated a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), is believed to have emerged in December at a wildlife market in Wuhan, the Hubei provincial capital.

"While 99 percent of cases are in China, in the rest of the world we only have 176 cases," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on February 4. "That doesn't mean that it won't get worse. But for sure we have a window of opportunity to act."

China’s leadership on February 3 admitted "shortcomings" in the country’s response to the virus outbreak.

The elite Politburo Standing Committee called for market supervision to be strengthened and said a "crackdown" on illegal wildlife markets was necessary.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, TASS, Reuters, Interfax, and RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service
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