Some passengers to be allowed to disembark Diamond Princess cruise ship; 44 more test positive for COVID-19
Japan Times -- Feb 14
In a significant policy turnaround, the health ministry announced Thursday that those age 80 or older will be able to disembark the Diamond Princess if they test negative for COVID-19.

Health minister Katsunobu Kato said such individuals will be allowed to leave the ship as early as Friday but will need to stay at lodgings provided by the government for the time being.

Passengers who meet the age requirement and have pre-existing conditions or are staying in rooms without functional windows will be prioritized for disembarkation.

“On the cruise ship, there are the elderly with pre-existing conditions and those who are staying inside rooms without windows having to take part in the quarantine period,” Kato said. “In those situations, as they have no choice but to stay for a long time period, there are individuals whose chronic illnesses get worse and compromise their health.”

Forty-four more — 43 passengers and one crew member — were also confirmed to have the new coronavirus Thursday. Elderly people made up a large majority of those newly infected, with 40 of the 44 being 70 or older.

The new cases bring the number of passengers and crew members infected with the virus to 218, five of whom are in serious condition. So far, 713 people have received test results.

The health minister said people in their 80s or older either have undergone or are currently being tested, in addition to those who are showing symptoms or have had close contact with those infected. There are about 200 people on board the ship who are age 80 or older.

News source: Japan Times
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