By Alison Fox
February 10, 2020
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Japanese soldiers and emergency workers in protective clothing walk from the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier where it is being resupplied and newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment.
Carl Court/Getty Images

Update (February 10, 2020): 135 passengers on the Diamond Princess ship have now been diagnosed with coronavirus. Japanese news service NHK reported on Monday that those infected with the virus will be hospitalized, however the ship will remained quarantined until Feb. 19. Although a government spokesperson noted it will be difficult to test everyone on board, they ensured, "We will prioritize people with symptoms, such as high fever. Older people will also be given priority." The ship carrying approximately 3,700 people is still docked at the Yokohama port.

Update (February 7, 2020): A total of 61 passengers have been diagnosed with confirmed cases of coronavirus on a cruise ship quarantined in the Japanese city of Yokohama, according to reports. That is up from the 20 people who authorities reported last week had tested positive for the virus and comes as the number of cases in China has risen to more than 31,000 with at least 636 deaths, The New York Times reported.

Of the 41 new cases on the cruise ship, 21 of them are Japanese and none are in serious condition as of Friday, the Timesnoted, citing information from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

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Update (February 5, 2020): At least 10 passengers, who are all over 50 years old, tested positive for the coronavirus, the BBC reported. The individuals were taken to a nearby hospital on the mainland and are being kept in isolation. They include two Australians, three Japanese, three Hong Kong citizens, one American, and one Filipino, according to NBC News.

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Thousands of people on board a cruise ship in Japan are being quarantined and screened for the coronavirus, after a recent passenger from Hong Kong was diagnosed with the contagious virus, Reuters reported. The 80-year-old man, who tested positive for the virus, had flown to Japan and boarded the ship on Jan. 20 before disembarking in Hong Kong on Jan. 25, according to the wire service.

The precautions come as the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to more than 20,000, with 429 deaths recorded as of Tuesday morning, according to CNBC.

The Diamond Princess ship, run by Carnival Japan Inc., was held in the Japanese port of Yokohama on Tuesday, Reuters reported. About 3,700 passengers and crew members (2,666 guests and 1,045 employees) had to be screened for the virus, which originated earlier this year in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Guests were also asked to fill out a questionnaire, have their temperatures taken, and remain in their cabins while they waited to be screened, Reuters reported. Later in the day, the news service stated that 70 percent of the people on the ship had been checked and many amenities stayed open.

According to the wire service, other cruises from the company that were scheduled to leave from Yokohama on Tuesday and the port of Kobe on Thursday would be canceled due to delays from the coronavirus checks.

While experts are still learning about the coronavirus, Dr. Rebecca Katz, a professor and director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, told Travel + Leisure that it’s important to know the symptoms, which are similar to the flu in many ways, as well as take precautions like washing your hands and carrying a mask.

And according to Cruise Critic, washing your hands is the number-one way to avoid getting sick. They also added that you should do it “more than you ordinarily would.”

While being quarantined on a ship may not sound like a fun experience, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Early detection, prevention, and control of influenza are important, not only to protect the health of travelers on cruise ships, but also to avoid spread of disease into home communities by disembarking sick passengers and crew members.”

The agency also says that passengers who become sick while on the ship “should remain isolated in their cabins or quarters (with the exception of clinic visits, if needed) until at least 24 hours after resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.”

The precautionary testing in Japan comes as the U.S. has implemented travel restrictions on foreign nationals who have visited China 14 days before their arrival in the U.S. In addition, the U.S. has started rerouting American citizens who have traveled to China in the last two weeks to designated airports for enhanced screening.

Additionally, the Cruise Lines International Association, whose members include many international cruise lines, said in a statement last week that its members “have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has traveled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days.”