An additional 67 passengers aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship have contracted the coronavirus, bringing the total number of people onboard who have tested positive up to 286, CNN reported.
The first round of disembarkment is set to begin on February 21, two days after the original set date.
Around 400 American passengers as early as Sunday will be disembarked and taken back to the US via two chartered State Department flights.
Those who have disembarked will likely still be placed under quarantine.
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A total number of 286 passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise have been infected with the coronavirus following the Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato’s announcement on Saturday that an additional 67 people onboard have tested positive, CNN reported.
Over 3,600 people have been stuck aboard the quarantined ship after several people on board tested positive for the virus, thus placing the passengers on a two-week quarantine that started on February 15, according to the Wall Street Journal.
However, Japanese health officials are now planning to disembark several voluntary guests to be quarantined off-shore in a separate facility, Princess Cruises said in a statement. The disembarkment will begin February 21, although the original date was February 19, CNN reported.
The passengers most vulnerable to contracting the virus, such as older people with health conditions, will be disembarked first. If people in the initial group test positive for coronavirus, they will be transferred to a local hospital for more isolation and treatment. If tested negative, they will be sent for further quarantine in a separate facility.
As soon as Sunday, 400 Americans onboard will have the opportunity to be transferred back to the US via two chartered State Department flights to the Travis Air Base near Sacramento, California. The CDC is currently in Japan monitoring the passengers, although some of the people on the flight will likely still have to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arriving back in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Princess Cruises has stated that all passengers on board are welcome to stay until the quarantine is over.
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