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Two Irish passengers in quarantine for two weeks on cruise ship after outbreak of virus

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Health officials check a man from Wuhan at the Chhawla facility, in New Delhi. Picture: AFP

Health officials check a man from Wuhan at the Chhawla facility, in New Delhi. Picture: AFP

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP

Health officials check a man from Wuhan at the Chhawla facility, in New Delhi. Picture: AFP

Two Irish passengers on a luxury cruise in Asia face two weeks of quarantine and confinement to their cabins after an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus on board.

They are among thousands who have been ordered to stay in their cabins aboard the Diamond Princess, docked off Japan, after 10 people tested positive for coronavirus.

The virus, which has infected more than 24,300 globally and led to nearly 500 deaths, continues to cause major disruption and havoc across the world.

Another patient suspected of having the virus was placed in isolation in University Hospital Kerry yesterday.

The person - understood to be a woman who may have been in contact with people who travelled to China recently - presented at the hospital with respiratory problems.

As a precautionary measure, she was immediately placed in isolation. The Department of Health yesterday declined to say whether she was cleared of risk but said that nobody in Ireland had tested positive for the virus.

China's Juneyao Airlines has opted to postpone the March 29 launch of its service from Dublin to Shanghai amid the ongoing concerns over the coronavirus.

The route - announced in late November - was a major coup for Dublin Airport following the decision by Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines to axe its six-month-old route to Shenzhen last August, and put its Dublin-Beijing service on ice until this year.

Meanwhile, the cruise liner at the centre of the outbreak with two passengers from Ireland on board will remain in lockdown at Yokohama.

Ten passengers tested positive for the virus, which has already swept through parts of China.

Princess Cruises, which runs the service, confirmed the first phase of health screening of all guests and crew on board Diamond Princess, by the Japanese Ministry of Health, has been completed. It has 2,666 guests, half from Japan, and 1,045 crew on board.

"We were notified that amongst the samples that have completed testing, 10 people have tested positive for coronavirus.

"This includes two Australian guests, three Japanese guests, three guests from Hong Kong, and one guest from the US, in addition to one Filipino crew member," it said.

He said these 10 people would be taken ashore by Japanese Coast Guard water craft and transported to local hospitals for care by Japanese medical professionals.

It has been confirmed that the ship will remain under quarantine in Yokohama.

The length of the quarantine will be at least 14 days. Guests will continue to be provided complimentary internet and phone to use in order to stay in contact with family.

Irish Independent