Health officials said the 10 patients had been taken off the liner by the Japanese coast guard and transferred to isolation units on the mainland. But all other passengers and crew members aboard Carnival’s Diamond Princess have been placed in quarantine screened for the deadly flu-like virus. The quarantine decision means that passengers, including British holidaymakers, will now spend another two weeks on the ship off Yokohama port near Tokyo.
Passengers are stuck in their cabins with hundreds anxiously awaiting their test results after medics in hazmat suits went deck-to-deck to test for the killer virus.
British passenger David Abel, who is on the cruise with his wife Sally, said food was now being rationed with meals being served room-by-room.
Speaking on a video posted on Facebook, Mr Abel, of Woodford Halse in Oxfordshire, said: “We are now officially in quarantine.
“It appears that our quarantine is on board the ship, that we will not be taken off to a hospital.
“The 10 people that are affected, they are being taken off very soon by the local coastguard into a medical facility.
“We are to remain on board the ship and we are confined to our cabins.
Mr Abel said: “All the passengers on board this ship, we remain confined to our cabins. We can’t even walk down the corridor.
“The challenging situation for me is that I’m an insulin dependent diabetic.
“We don’t have a choice in what we can eat, the announcement recently was that they’re starting on the bottom deck and working their way up – I’m on the ninth deck.
“This is not a good situation for me as a diabetic and I’m certain that there are many, many more diabetics on the ship.”
The Diamond Princess was caught up in the global coronavirus crisis after an 80-year-old Hong Kong man, who joined for part of the 14-day cruise, tested positive for the virus after disembarking in Hong Kong on January 25.
Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said officials would continue to monitor the remaining passengers and crew for the potential development of symptoms, suggesting that more test samples could be taken.
None of the 10 infected people – three each from Japan and Hong Kong, two Australians, one American and one Filipino crew member – are believed to have severe symptoms.
Carnival’s Princess Cruises said passengers would be able to access free internet and telephone services “in order to stay in contact with their family and loved ones”.
A spokesman said: “The ship’s crew is working to keep all guests comfortable.”
He said the Diamond Princess would go out to sea to perform “normal marine operations” including the production of fresh water, before receiving food and other supplies from Yokohama.
Carnival said that passengers trapped on the Diamond Princess would receive both a full refund and a future cruise credit.