Thu, Feb 13, 2020 - Page 4 News List

Cases on cruise ship climb by 39


Relatives of passengers wave toward the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Another 39 people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19, authorities said yesterday, as thousands more steel themselves for a second week in quarantine.

With 174 confirmed cases, the ship that arrived with more than 3,700 passengers and crew has become the largest single cluster of infected cases outside the virus’ origin in China.

Japanese Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Katsunobu Kato told reporters early yesterday that the 39 new positive cases came from 53 additional test results.

He said that a quarantine officer was among those diagnosed, with the Yomiuri Shimbu reporting that the man had not been wearing a full protective suit while carrying out tests before the quarantine period began on Wednesday last week.

Kyodo news agency, citing the health ministry, said that of the 39 cases, 10 were crew and 29 were passengers.

Ten were Japanese and the others were from 11 countries including the US and China, and four were in serious condition, either on a ventilator or in intensive care, Kato said.

“We have the capacity to conduct up to 300 tests per day, but we are working ... so that by the last day of the incubation period, Feb. 18, we will be able to test up to 1,000,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s biggest bank DBS yesterday evacuated 300 staff from its head office as a precautionary measure following a confirmed COVID-19 case at the lender, an internal memo seen by reporters showed.

Singapore has reported 47 cases, one of the highest tallies outside China.

“DBS confirms today that one employee has been infected with the novel coronavirus,” the bank said in a statement.

It said an employee was tested on Tuesday and the bank was informed of the confirmation yesterday morning.

As of noon, the bank asked all employees on the affected floor to vacate the premises and work from home, it added.

The statement did not say how many staff members were affected.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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