Two Irish people are among 2,666 passengers who are quarantined on a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Japan after an outbreak of the coronavirus.
They are confined to their cabins and will be in quarantine for two weeks on the liner, Diamond Princess.
The liner is docked at the Japanese port of Yokohama.
Ten passengers tested positive for the virus which has already swept through parts of China.
Princess Cruises which runs the service confirmed to Independent.it today that the first phase of health screening of all guests and crew on board Diamond Princess, by the Japanese Ministry of Health, has been completed.
“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.”
He said these ten people will be taken ashore by Japanese Coast Guard watercraft and transported to local hospitals for care by shoreside 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 as required by the Ministry of Health.
He said the ship plans to go out to sea to perform normal marine operations including, but not limited to, the production of fresh water and ballast operations before proceeding alongside in Yokohama where food, provisions, and other supplies will be brought on board.
“Guests will continue to be provided complimentary internet and telephone to use in order to stay in contact with their family and loved ones, and the ship’s crew is working to keep all guests comfortable.
“Princess Cruises will continue to fully cooperate with and follow the instructions of global medical authorities and the Japanese government.
“We will also be cancelling the next two Diamond Princess cruises departing Yokohama February 4 and February 12 and will begin notifying guests today.
Princess Cruises confirmed there are 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew currently onboard covering a range of nationalities.
Approximately half the guests on board are from Japan.