Another 67 people onboard the Diamond Princess have tested positive for novel coronavirus, Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Saturday — bringing the number of cases from the ship to 286.
More than 3,600 people, including 428 Americans, have been stuck on the cruise ship, which became a floating quarantine zone after dozens of people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Elsewhere in Japan, there are 39 confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the country’s total to 325 — the highest number of cases outside of mainland China.
One Japanese woman in her 80s, not from the ship, has died. The Health Ministry did not report any new cases on Friday.
Disembarking: Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship will be disembarked over several days beginning February 21, said the president for the cruise operator.
Crew on board will likely begin their own quarantine once all passengers have left the ship, said Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz in a letter read to passengers by the ships captain.
This does not apply to the Americans taking the US government evacuation charter flight on Sunday.
Delay on testing: According to Swartz, the Japanese government said they may start a new testing process starting February 18 — which may push back the disembarkation. The quarantine originally was set to lift on February 19.
We understand there is a limit to the number of tests the Japanese government can complete each day, so testing all of our remaining guests could take a few days to complete,” Swartz said. Because each test takes several days to process results, the first guests would not disembark until February 21.