Eight Americans on board a Princess Cruises ship quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan, have been diagnosed with the deadly new coronavirus, bringing the total confirmed cases to 61 passengers aboard the vessel, a report from the cruise line said late Thursday.
Officials with the Japanese Ministry of Health said that of the 41 newly-detected cases aboard the Diamond Princess, 8 are Americans. The remaining cases involved more than 20 Japanese residents, and other Australians and Canadians who have tested positive. Those who test positive will be transported to local hospitals for further treatment.
The remaining guests aboard the vessel have been placed in a 14-day quarantine that's expected to end on Feb. 19, pending any other unforeseen circumstances.
"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," Princess Cruises' Public Relations Director Negin Kamali said a the statement.
The Japanese government is also providing assistance to the crew, according to the statement from the cruise line.
In New Jersey, 27 Chinese nationals who were passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas were screened by local health officials after the ship docked Friday morning. Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said one passenger reported having a fever on the cruise and was given Tylenol, which helped to alleviate the fever.
That person, along with three others, were taken to University Hospital in Newark for close observation, officials said. The other 23 passengers who were screened showed no symptoms and were allowed to go to Newark Liberty International Airport for flights back to China.
Davis said none of the 27 screened were from Wuhan, which health officials consider to be the epicenter of the outbreak and that the screenings were done out of an abundance of caution. The cruise through the Caribbean left Bayonne on Jan. 27 according to the itinerary.
"I have been briefed on the RC cruise ship arriving this morning. I am certain that the NJ DoH, CDC, and PA NY/NJ are prepared and equipped to address any concerns this morning," Davis wrote in a
As of Friday morning the global death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 638, with another 31,523 cases confirmed worldwide. The vast majority of those cases have been confirmed in mainland China.
In Wuhan, a doctor who'd been punished by local police for blowing the whistle on the outbreak, was confirmed to have passed away from the coronavirus Friday. A Chinese Communist party commission said in a statement that it would send a team to investigate the doctor's death, "to conduct a comprehensive investigation on the issues reported by the public involving Dr. Li Wenliang."
Li had tried to warn his colleagues about the new coronavirus in online chat forums and was reportedly reprimanded by local police for "posting false information on the Internet" as the outbreak began to spread.
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