Passengers released from virus-hit cruise ship

Passengers released from virus-hit cruise ship
# 19 February 2020 17:23 (UTC +04:00)

The first hundreds of passengers who tested negative for the new coronavirus have begun leaving a ship moored off Japan, after 14 days of quarantine, APA reports citing BBC.

At least 542 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess have been infected by the Covid-19 virus - the biggest cluster outside mainland China.

Passengers have described the difficult quarantine situation on the vessel.

Several nations are evacuating their citizens from the ship as infections continue to rise.

On Sunday the US removed hundreds of its citizens from the ship and placed them in quarantine. The UK said it hopes to fly 74 British nationals on the Diamond Princess back "later this week".

A British couple on the ship - who had been giving regular updates to journalists and via social media - confirmed on Wednesday that they had tested positive for the virus.

The US, Canada, Australia and the UK will place all those released from the ship in another 14 days quarantine when they return home.

Hong Kong on Wednesday said a 70-year-old man with underlying illnesses became the territory's second fatality. France, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan have each had one death attributed to the virus.

China on Monday released a detailed study of more than 44,000 confirmed cases indicating that the overwhelming number of deaths occur among the sick and elderly.