Diamond Princess cruise ship empties as crew, passengers leave

Published on : Monday, March 2, 2020

According to the Japanese health ministry, all the 3,711 passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined at Yokohama port due to COVID-19 infection, disembarked from the vessel Sunday.


On Sunday, the last group of some 130 crew members left the British-flagged ship after testing negative for the COVID-19 virus. The disembarkation of crew members began Thursday, with passengers having already left the ship.


Of the 130 crew members, about 70 Indonesians returned home aboard a chartered plane, while about 60 people were transported to National Tax College in the city of Wako, Saitama Prefecture, and will stay there for 14 days for further monitoring of their health.


The 60 crew members will again undergo tests for the virus after the end of the health-monitoring period. Non-Japanese crew members will be allowed to leave Japan if they test negative.


According to the ministry, the cruise ship will be disinfected, and the operator of the vessel will then send staff to maintain its minimum necessary functions.


The Diamond Princess left Yokohama port Jan. 20. Quarantine clearance issued to the vessel was invalidated when it was discovered that a man who got off the ship in Hong Kong on Jan. 25 had been infected with the virus. The ship has been quarantined since it arrived back in Yokohama on Feb. 3.


When the Diamond Princess returned to Yokohama, 2,666 passengers — including 1,281 Japanese nationals — and 1,045 crew members were aboard. Of them, 705 people have since been found to be infected with the new virus.


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