One Croatian national leaves Diamond Princess cruise ship, five remain on board

One Croatian national leaves Diamond Princess cruise ship, five remain on board

One Croatian national leaves Diamond Princess cruise ship, five remain on board Izvor: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

One Croatian passenger aboard the Diamond Princess cruiser moored in Yokohama left the ship on Wednesday. The ship, which spent 14 days in quarantine at the Japanese port, still has five Croatian crew members on board, Croatia's foreign ministry said.

Japanese authorities have confirmed some 540 cases of coronavirus infection so far on the ship, which originally carried about 3,700 people, including some 1,100 crew members.

The Japanese health ministry said that around 500 passengers who have no symptoms of the flu-like disease, who had tested negative for the infection, and who did not come into contact with infected people, would be allowed to leave the vessel during the day. They would be followed by crew members once they are cleared to leave.

About 2,000 people remain on the ship at the Yokohama port, who are expected to be evacuated in the coming days. The ship was put in quarantine at Yokohama after a passenger who had disembarked from it earlier in Hong Kong was later found to have the new coronavirus.

Croatia's foreign ministry reported that the single Croatian passenger was cleared and allowed to leave the ship, with no restrictions placed on his movement.

"The other five Croatian nationals aboard the vessel - who are all crew members - will continue their stay in quarantine aboard the ship, together with the rest of the crew, even though none of them have showed any symptoms of the disease," the ministry said.

About 2,000 people remain on the ship at the Yokohama port, who are expected to be evacuated in the coming days. The ship was put in quarantine at Yokohama after a passenger who had disembarked from it earlier in Hong Kong was later found to have the new coronavirus.

Japan's policy of isolating passengers on the ship was criticised by scientists, who said that by keeping it quarantined the vessel was effectively turned into an incubator for the virus.

Several nations have made arrangements to take their nationals home via chartered flights, which have reportedly been sent from the United States, South Korea, Canada, Australia, and Italy.

The company operating the ship, Princess Cruises, said in a press release on Tuesday that 169 people who tested positive for the coronavirus were still kept on the ship before they are transported to hospitals.

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