Health and Science

New coronavirus cases surge as 3,700 remain quarantined on ship in Japan

Key Points
  • The Japanese Health Ministry on Friday confirmed 41 new cases of the new coronavirus on a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan.
  • That brings the total cases on the ship to 61.
  • The ship, which is operated by Carnival's Princess Cruises, is carrying about 3,700 passengers and crew at the port of Yokohama.
Officers in protective gear enter the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where 10 more people were tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, to transfer a patient to the hospital after the ship arrived at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan February 7, 2020.
Kim Kyung-Hoon | Reuters

The Japanese Health Ministry on Friday confirmed 41 new cases of the new coronavirus on a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of the country.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is operated by Carnival's Princess Cruises, is carrying about 3,700 passengers and crew at the port of Yokohama.

The company announced Tuesday that it was quarantining the ship for two weeks after a previous guest, who didn't have any symptoms while aboard the ship, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday — six days after leaving the Diamond Princess.

The new cases bring the total to 61 cases out of 273 people who were suspected of being exposed to the virus and were tested for it. The ministry said all those who tested positive for the new coronavirus will be removed and transported to local hospitals.

As of Friday, more than 31,000 cases of the new coronavirus have been reported in more than two dozen countries, resulting in at least 636 deaths, almost exclusively in China.

Carnival's Princess Cruises confirmed the new cases in a blog post Thursday, adding that among the newly infected people, there is one from Argentina, five from Australia, five from Canada, 21 from Japan, one from the U.K. and eight from the U.S.

The company said this is the last batch of tests and the quarantine will end Feb. 19.

"Our team on board Diamond Princess, supported by our shoreside colleagues, is actively working to care for our guests to ensure their comfort and well-being," Princess Cruises said. "These are such unusual circumstances so our team has activated new in-room entertainment offerings."

One of the passengers quarantined on the ship, 74-year-old David Abel, who is on the vessel with his wife, Sally, told CNBC that passengers are confined to their cabins for the quarantine.

"Those passengers who are on the inside cabins: they've got no windows to look out of, there's no daylight, natural light and they can't take a walk down a corridor. It's strict confinement to cabins for all passengers," Abel said. "But the captain has announced that people on the inside cabins are going to be allowed access onto the open deck for exercise and fresh air."

"The cruise has ended and we are in a quarantine situation," he said.

Meanwhile, Princess Cruises said it has rolled out puzzles, trivia, newspapers, in-cabin fitness videos and more for the quarantined passengers.

Meanwhile, Princess Cruises has rolled out new entertainment offerings, it said, to keep everyone on the ship sane, such as puzzles, trivia, newspapers, in-cabin fitness videos and more.

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Princess Cruise guest reveals life inside coronavirus-quarantined ship