People Onboard Quarantined Cruise Ship Test Positive For Coronavirus

At least 10 people on board a cruise ship docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama have tested positive for China’s coronavirus, Japan’s authorities say.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on February 5 that all of the 3,700 people onboard the Diamond Princess will be quarantined on the vessel for up to 14 days.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry has informed Russia’s Embassy in Tokyo that 24 Russian nationals were onboard, Russian news agencies reported.

A man on the ship told RFE/RL that there were also at least 20 Ukrainian citizens.

The number of infected on the Diamond Princess could rise as checks are ongoing.

Some 3,600 people on a second cruise ship docked in Hong Kong are also being tested for the coronavirus, as Chinese health authorities are stepping up efforts to control the outbreak.

The virus has killed nearly 500 people in mainland China, with more than 24,300 confirmed cases.

Millions of Chinese have been ordered to not leave their homes and much of Hubei Province, home to more than 50 million people, is subject to quarantine measures.

Some two dozen countries have reported more than 175 confirmed cases of the pathogen and there are cases of human transmission between people who have not visited China recently.

The outbreak has prompted several governments, including Russia and the United States, to institute travel restrictions and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.

On February 5, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said the government was banning transit flights from China to keep foreigners from landing in Russia.

Moscow had already restricted direct flights to China and has said it may deport foreigners who test positive for coronavirus.

The Russian Embassy in Bejing on February 5 reported that 128 Russian nationals have been evacuated from Hubei.

Uzbekistan’s Health Ministry said that it has repatriated 84 Uzbek nationals from Wuhan.

The Uzbek Health Ministry said in a statement on February 5 that the majority of those repatriated were students studying in China, and that “none of them is suspected of having the new coronavirus.”

The epidemic, which has been designated a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), is believed to have emerged in December at a wildlife market in the Hubei provincial capital of Wuhan.

“While 99 percent of cases are in China, in the rest of the world we only have 176 cases,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on February 4. “That doesn’t mean that it won’t get worse. But for sure we have a window of opportunity to act.”

China’s leadership on February 3 admitted “shortcomings” in the country’s response to the virus outbreak.

The elite Politburo Standing Committee called for market supervision to be strengthened and said a “crack down” on illegal wildlife markets was necessary.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, TASS, Reuters, Interfax, and RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service
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