Coronavirus cases on Japan ship rise to 355

Agence France-Presse . Tokyo | Published at 02:06pm on February 16, 2020

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The Diamond Princess, seen in Melbourne in 2010, has been held at the port of Yokohama while health authorities check all 2,500 passengers and 1,000 crew members. — AFP file photo

The number of people who had been tested positive for the new coronavirus on a quarantined ship off Japan’s coast had rose to 355, the country’s health minister said on Sunday.

‘So far, we have conducted tests for 1,219 individuals. Of those, 355 people tested positive. Of those, 73 individuals are not showing symptoms,’ Katsunobu Kato told a roundtable discussion on public broadcaster NHK — a rise of 70 from the last government toll.

The new figures came as the United States was preparing to evacuate some of its citizens from the Diamond Princess, which has been in quarantine since February 5 in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo.

Hong Kong also said it would offer its 330 citizens on board the chance to take a charter flight back.

‘Based on the high number of COVID-19 cases identified onboard the Diamond Princess, the department of health and human services made an assessment that passengers and crew members onboard are at high risk of exposure,’ the US embassy said in a letter to its passengers.