Two former Japan cruise ship passengers die

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But their release caused alarm among some public-health experts, particularly as 79 new coronavirus cases on the ship were announced Wednesday, bringing the total to 621. As some ran out of prescription drugs for heart attack and diabetes, the Embassy also made emergency arrangements to deliver the drugs to them in time.

The ship's operator, Princess Cruises, said in a statement on Tuesday that 169 people who tested positive recently were still on the ship as they waited for transportation to hospitals.

Ryan added it is important for every nation with affected passengers to follow up on each person's health in the coming weeks. It was not immediately known why they were not tested earlier when they developed initial symptoms and consulted with the ship's clinic, Sakoi said.

Two elderly Japanese passengers from the ship are reported to have died. In addition to the 531 crew members on board, seven passengers are citizens from the Philippines.

More than 74,000 people have been infected in China and hundreds more in some 25 countries, with Iran reporting two deaths, the first fatalities in the Middle East.

Patients of 55 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection, their 33 close contacts, and those failing to pass the virus test, have to remain in Japan for treatment or further quarantine, Lee said.

About 500 passengers began disembarking on Thursday while another 100 people were to leave for chartered flights home, a health ministry official said. "We have to help people inside the ship". "CDC believes the rate of new infections on board, especially among those without symptoms, represents an ongoing risk".

"It was completely chaotic", said Dr. Kentaro Iwata, a infectious diseases professor at Kobe University in Japan, who reported witnessing passengers, crew members and medical professionals walking around the ship without wearing protective clothing.

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Earlier this month, some Indian crewmen recorded videos, saying that they were scared of being infected while tending the passengers. I really am smelling a very big rat here!

For the 500 passengers leaving the Diamond Princess after testing negative, a hard 14-day quarantine period has come to an end after their dream cruise turned into a nightmare of fear and boredom, confined in many cases to small windowless cabins.

The paper quoted a passenger who said he was tested on February 15 and left four days later.

The Diamond Princess was quarantined on February 5 when a passenger who left in Hong Kong was found infected with the virus.

The ship, docked in Yokohama, Japan, has seen the largest outbreak of the virus outside China, with 634 passengers having tested positive at last count.

The number of confirmed cases among passengers and crew soared again overnight and now stands at more than 620, up from 542 yesterday.

Other foreign passengers were to be picked up by chartered flights sent from Canada, Australia, Italy and Hong Kong.

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