4 more Filipinos on Japan cruise ship infected with coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines – Four more Filipinos aboard a cruise ship quarantined off Yokohama, Japan, tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

"The 4 Filipinos, who are all crew members, are among the 6 newly confirmed cases of the virus since the vessel was docked...on February 4," the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on Monday, February 10.

The total number of infected Filipinos on the Diamond Princess cruise ship is now at 5, with one other crew member earlier confirmed to have the virus. They are being treated in hospitals in Japan.

Dozens of other people aboard the Diamond Princess have also tested positive for 2019-nCoV.

The Japanese government quarantined the cruise ship after an 80-year-old passenger who departed from Hong Kong was found to have the virus. The ship, carrying some 3,700 passengers and crew, is anchored off a pier in the Kanagawa Prefecture capital.

The DFA earlier said 538 Filipinos were onboard the Diamond Princess.

The agency again assured the public that the Philippine embassy in Tokyo is "closely coordinating with Japanese authorities, and is in constant communication with the Filipinos still onboard [the cruise ship], to provide them all possible assistance."

As of Monday morning, the novel coronavirus has killed 908 people and infected over 40,000 people across 26 countries.

The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the outbreak, which has prompted countries such as the Philippines and the United States to impose strict travel restrictions. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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