Tokyo, Japan’s Health Ministry on Friday confirmed that the number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus on board a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Yokohama has increased to 61, after the emergence of 41 fresh cases.
The new cases on the Diamond Princess ship bring Japan’s number of confirmed cases to 86, the second highest figure after China which on Friday confirmed 636 deaths and 31,161 infections, a BBC report said.
“The results of the remaining 171 tests came out and 41 tested positive,” Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said.
“Today they will be sent to hospitals in several prefectures, and we are now preparing for that.”
The 61 confirmed patients are from Japan (28); the US (11); Australia and Canada (seven);
China (three); and the UK, New Zealand, Taiwan, Philippines, Argentina (one), according to the authorities.
In total, the roughly 2,700 passengers and 1,000 crew come from 56 countries.
With the quarantine due to last until February 19, there has also been concern over supplies of normal medicine to the ship.
One passenger has been waving a Japanese flag with the message “shortage of medicine”. A Japanese TV crew on the shore responded with a banner asking: “What medicine?”
Twenty passengers diagnosed earlier have already been taken to hospitals.
The checks on Diamond Princess began after an 80-year-old Hong Kong man who had been on the ship last month fell ill with the virus. He had boarded the cruise ship in Yokohama on January 20 and disembarked in Hong Kong five days later, reports the BBC.
Meanwhile, a separate cruise ship, the World Dream, has been quarantined in Hong Kong after eight former passengers – who had been on board from January 19-24 – caught the virus.
It has around 3,600 people on board, but none have tested positive so far.