The number of passengers tested positive for the novel coronavirus onboard a cruise ship in Japan has reached 61, local media reported on Friday.
Japan’s Health Ministry said over 41 people were tested positive with symptoms of the virus which originated in central China’s Wuhan city in December last year.
Around 3,700 passengers and crew from 56 countries and regions are aboard the cruise — Diamond Princess — who have been quarantined at a dock in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo.
Those diagnosed with the virus are in their 20s to 80s and are being shifted to health facilities in Tokyo and nearby Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, Kyodo News reported.
“None have severe symptoms,” the ministry said.
The virus-affected people include 21 Japanese, eight American, five Australian, five Canadian and one each from Argentina and Britain.
“Of 20 people already found to be infected on the cruise, one is in serious condition,” the ministry added.
The cruise along with passengers was halted at the dock after a passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong, was found to be infected with the virus.
“As the people were staying together for a certain period in a closed environment, they had repetitive close contact,” Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference.
The cruise had returned to the port city of Yokohama last Monday after visiting Kagoshima, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Okinawa. It had left the same port on Jan. 20.
Taking measures to stop the spread of the fatal virus which has caused at least 637 deaths, Japan has asked another cruise ship coming from Hong Kong not to enter the country.
The cruise, scheduled to enter Naha Port in Okinawa prefecture on Saturday, is yet to respond to the Japanese government’s request. It is carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew onboard.