Seoul to bar entry of foreigners aboard infected cruise ship in Japan

A passenger wearing a face mask looks out from the cabin of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in quarantine due to fears of new COVID-19 coronavirus at Daikoku pier cruise terminal in Yokohama

On Wednesday, hundreds of passengers began disembarking from the quarantined cruise ship docked off Yokohama Port, as their 14-day quarantine ended.

In his video, Iwata painted a disturbing picture of conditions on the Diamond Princess.

Naval Forces Japan said no Navy SOFA personnel were aboard the ship. "She was saying that she was already infected; she was giving up protecting herself".

Vera Koslova-Fu from Melbourne was confined to a windowless cabin for two weeks.

Criticizing a lack of carefulness on the ship, Iwata said there was also no clear leadership role by medical experts.

"It is highly likely secondary infections occurred", he said. There was no single professional infection control person inside the ship and nobody in charge of infection prevention as a professional.

The Island couple have been occupying themselves throughout the unexpected quarantine, posting Facebook live updates for their family and friends, and even having their vows renewed by the ship's captain.

All of those passengers had been tested for the COVID-19 disease by the Japanese health ministry, according to cruise operator Princess Cruises.

Dr Kentaro Iwata, an infectious diseases expert at Kobe University who was on the ship on Tuesday, was scathing in his criticism of how matters had been handled, describing the liner as a "Covid-19 mill".

Reports from mainland China state that the number of deaths has now topped 2,000 but the rate of infection has slowed down.

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"The government has given utmost consideration for protecting the health of passengers and crew", Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney confirmed two out of six Irish passengers on the Princess Diamond tested positive for the virus and are being treated in hospital in Japan.

"There was no doubt that I was exposed to more sick people during the journey home than I feel like I was during the quarantine [on the ship]" he said.

They will first be tested to make sure they are not infected with the deadly virus, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday. "So something went awry".

Concerned about the growing numbers of cases, Iwata talked his way around numerous bureaucratic roadblocks before finally joining a disaster management medical team that boarded the ship yesterday, he explains in his video. But he was ordered to leave after only 2 to 3 hours, he says. I do not know what the next few days are going to hold for them.

Scientists say Japan faced a hard choice, however.

After the ship arrived, Japan's government announced it would be placed in quarantine for 14 days - based on indications of the incubation period for the virus. Moreover, if the virus spread to the local population, "that would have caused serious logistical and political problems for local health authorities". All of those governments and the USA are requiring a second quarantine, the cruise line says. However health officials say 79 new cases have been detected onboard.

The ship, which some experts have called a ideal virus incubator, has become the site of the most infections outside of China, where the virus was first identified.

Japanese officials have defended their handling of the Diamond Princess quarantine. I was in other countries dealing with the cholera outbreak.

Some of the 3,700 passengers and crew who tested negative for the virus began to disembark today, but the 74 British nationals were advised to remain on board.

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