538 Filipinos onboard quarantined Japanese cruise ship

MANILA, Philippines – A luxury cruise ship quarantined near Yokohama, Japan, after its passengers were exposed to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has 538 Filipinos onboard, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday, February 5.

The Japanese government quarantined the Diamond Princess cruise ship after an 80-year-old passenger who departed from Hong Kong tested positive for 2019-nCoV.

The ship, carrying some 3,700 passengers, was prevented from sailing and is anchored off a pier in the Kanagawa Prefecture capital.

The Japanese Health Ministry said 10 individuals were later found to be infected, including 9 passengers and a crew member. All would be transferred to a health care facility for treatment.

Carnival Japan Incorporated, operator of the Diamond Princess, said the 10 infected include 3 Japanese, 3 Chinese, 2 Australians, an American, and a Filipino.

The DFA confirmed a Filipino was indeed among those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. This marked the first confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in a Filipino.

The DFA gave assurances that the Philippine embassy in Tokyo is in "constant communication" with the remaining Filipinos on the ship.

The agency added that it is closely coordinating with Japanese authorities to provide all possible assistance to the Filipinos.

"The Philippine embassy in Tokyo is closely and actively monitoring the welfare of Filipinos onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is currently docked off the port of Yokohama, Japan, under a quarantine implemented by the Japanese government," the DFA said.

As of Wednesday morning, the novel coronavirus has killed 492 people and infected over 23,000 people across 25 countries.

The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the outbreak, which has prompted countries such as the Philippines and the United States to impose strict travel restrictions– with reports from Kyodo News/Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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