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South Africans aboard Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive for Coronavirus

Two South African crew members aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship under quarantine in Japan have tested positive for Coronavirus, according to the National Department of Health.

“The South African government has been made aware by Japanese authorities through the South African embassy in Tokyo, that there were 12 South African crew members working on board the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship when it was affected by Covid-19,” the department said in a statement.

diamond princess

diamond princess was placed under quarantine when passengers tested positive for coronavirus

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“On 25 February 2020, we were informed by the Japanese authorities that two of these South Africans tested positive for Covid-19. They are currently being treated in Japan and the latest reports indicate that they are currently asymptomatic,” the statement added.

“At this stage, it is most appropriate that the Covid-19 confirmed South African citizens should be treated in Japan until they are fully recovered from the virus and are no longer contagious before they travel further.”

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crew in hazmat suits aboard diamond princess

The remaining ten South African nationals will be allowed to disembark the ship, but will need to remain in quarantine for at least 14 days before they are allowed to return home.

Meanwhile, South African passengers aboard the virus-hit ship are making their way home via India. A special Air India flight landed in New Delhi on Thursday carrying Indian nationals returning home, as well as passengers from several other countries, including five South Africans.

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The flight’s arrival in India was announced on Twitter by the country’s External Affairs Minister.

Diamond Princess is a cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises, it has been under quarantine in Japan since the beginning of the month after a passenger was found to have Coronavirus.

Diamond Princess arrived in Yokohama on February 1st and was barred from disembarking passengers as a man that had disembarked in Hong Kong had tested positive for Coronavirus.

Japanese health authorities began testing passengers and over the ensuing weeks found that at least 705 are infected. These patients have been transferred off the ship for medical assistance.

The remaining passengers are being disembarked and flown home in a phased manner.

“The disembarkation process of unaffected passengers has been a phased approach whereby passengers are released after testing negative for Covid-19,” says the National Department of Health.

“[Princess Cruises] has indicated that the disembarkation of passengers is a priority and that crew members will be allowed to disembark after all passengers have disembarked,” it added.

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