- The final guests aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship – which has been under a strict quarantine since February 4 – have just left the ship.
- The 2-week cruise they were initially scheduled on left port on January 20, which means the passengers have been at sea for 39 days.
- More than 700 of the 3,711 people on board have contracted the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Four died.
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The coronavirus quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship is officially over for all 2,666 guests.
“Princess Cruises can confirm that disembarkation of all guests aboard Diamond Princess is complete,” Princess Cruises Public Relations Director Negin Kamali said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
But not everyone is off the ship yet.
“Currently, there are fewer than 500 team members on board,” Kamali said. “For those team members who will not depart by government charter flights, we have finalised plans with the Japan Ministry of Health for a quarantine shoreside facility in Japan.”
The Diamond Princess cruise ship originally departed from Yokohama on a 2-week round trip cruise, meant to last from January 20 to February 4. But after a man who was onboard for five days disembarked in Hong Kong, and tested positive for COVID-19, the ship became a floating quarantine centre for all 3,711 passengers and crew aboard.
Since then, more than 700 people have caught the viral illness on board the waves. Four people have died. Many others have returned to their home countries, only to find themselves in quarantine anew, as officials fear some might still be incubating the novel coronavirus, which prompts fever, cough, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing.
Public health experts have said that the contagion on board the ship was completely predictable, given the close quarters. Bioethicist Kelly Hills told Business Insider that the sequestering at sea was not only pointless and ineffective, but that it also violated basic human rights.
One California town has temporarily issued a restraining order against passengers coming from the Diamond Princess, blocking them from being transferred to a local hospital.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in the US told USA Today that “the quarantine process failed” on the Diamond Princess.
“I’d like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed,” he said.
- Read more:
- A Southern California city is barring people who were on the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship from entering its town
- How the ‘failed’ quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship started with 10 coronavirus cases and ended with more than 700
- Photos from inside the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where thousands of passengers have been quarantined for a week because of the coronavirus outbreak
- Experts say the cruise ship quarantine was unjustified and violated human rights, letting the coronavirus ‘literally pick them off one by one’
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