Passengers leave Japan virus ship after 14-day quarantine

Hundreds of people on Wednesday left a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan's coast after testing negative for the virus and completing a 14-day quarantine on board.

The Diamond Princess arrived off Japan on February 3, after it emerged a former passenger had tested positive for the virus. Here is the cruise ship's story by the numbers:


There were 3,711 people on board the massive cruise ship when it arrived off Japan's coast and went into quarantine. Of those, 2,666 were guests and the remainder crew members. The number on board has shrunk day by day as those diagnosed with the virus are removed from the ship and taken to local hospitals.


Passengers and crew on board the ship hailed from 56 countries and territories, with about half of the passengers from Japan, according to operator Princess Cruises. Large contingents included hundreds of Filipinos among the crew, and hundreds of Americans, many of whom were evacuated from the ship days before the quarantine ended.


After the ship arrived, Japan's government announced it would be placed in quarantine for 14 days -- based on indications of the incubation period for the virus. Passengers on board were confined to their cabins, except for brief outings on open deck when they were required to wear gloves and masks and keep their distance from other passengers.


At least 542 people on board the ship had tested positive for novel coronavirus by Wednesday morning, when the quarantine came to an end. More than 2,000 people have been tested with those positive removed from the ship to local hospitals.


A little over half-way through the quarantine, Japan's government offered to allow passengers 80 or older with pre-existing health issues or staying in windowless interior cabins the chance to continue their quarantine on land if they tested negative.

In the event, just 11 people who qualified for the offer decided to take the chance to leave the boat, taking up residence in government-designated accommodation.


Days before the quarantine was due to end, Washington decided it would evacuate its citizens from the ship, requiring them to undergo another 14-day quarantine once they arrived in the US. In all, 328 Americans flew out on two planes, though some opted to stay on board. Countries including Australia, Canada and Britain have also said they want to repatriate citizens from the boat.


Around 500 people were expected to depart the Diamond Princess on Wednesday after testing negative for the virus and completing the quarantine. There will be no restrictions on their movement. The disembarkation is expected to continue for several days, as more people receive negative test results.


There were 1,045 crew on board the ship when it arrived off Japan, though some members have tested positive for the virus and been taken to local hospitals. Those who remain will have to undergo a new quarantine that will not begin until all the passengers have left the ship.

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