A total of eight Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus strain, out of more than 130 passengers who have found to be infected.
One Canadian was among the 66 new cases of coronavirus found on the ship over the weekend, according to reports. The ship, docked off the shore of Japan near Yokohama, will remain in quarantine until at least Feb. 19; the ship is carrying 2,666 guests (including 285 Canadians) and 1,045 crew members.
According to the latest statement issued by Princess Cruises on Feb. 8, the cruise line will “refund the full cruise fare for all guests including air travel, hotel, ground transportation, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities and other items.” Guests will also not be charged for any onboard incidental charges during the additional time onboard and will receive a future cruise credit “equal to the cruise fare paid for the voyage which ended on Feb. 4,” Princess said.
“Our guests and crew onboard Diamond Princess are the focus of our entire global organization right now and all of our hearts are with each of them,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president, in a Feb. 7 statement. “In this unprecedented situation, the Japanese Ministry of Health authorities are working with us collaboratively on additional enhancements, approving new procedures as we adapt our process to the unique challenges of this situation.”
In partnership with the Japan Ministry of Health, the ship has received additional medications which are being sorted and distributed based on medical and urgent priority, Princess said.
The company continues to look for the most effective ways to help keep guests healthy, which includes mental health. Telephone access has been arranged for guests experiencing mental stress with trained counselors who can provide support. Both English and Japanese-speaking counselors are available, and guests can call directly from their staterooms.
Meanwhile, a second plane of Canadians repatriated from Wuhan, China – the centre of the outbreak – is expected to land in Trenton, ON, where a quarantine zone has been set up at a Canadian Forces Base there. The first plane arrived late last week, carrying 176 individuals.
As of today (Feb. 10), the coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 40,000 people since December (surpassing SARS, which infected approximately 8,000 worldwide in 2002-03) and killed more than 900, with nearly all the deaths taking place in China.
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