Several Cruise Passengers Die of Coronavirus As Hundreds Are Finally Allowed to Disembark (Video)
The late passengers had been removed from the ship earlier this month.
Several former passengers that were on the on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined for coronavirus earlier this month have died.
A man who was quarantined on the ship is the fifth confirmed fatality according to The BBC. He is also the first British person to die of the virus.
The other four late passengers have been elderly people from Japan with varying details of their death released.
On Sunday, was an 80-year-old man who died of pneumonia according to Japanese Outlet NHK, who noted that it was not confirmed if he was infected with coronavirus. He was treated at a nearby hospital after leaving the quarantined ship.
Last week, as passengers were in the beginning the stages of disembarking from the ship on Wednesday, NHK confirmed that a man and a woman in their 80's had succumbed to the virus on Thursday.
The man, 87, was removed from the ship on Feb. 11 and the woman, 84, was removed from the ship on Feb. 12. Both reportedly had underlying health issues.
The coronavirus-stricken ship had been under a 15-day quarantine since Feb. 4, docked at the port of Yokohama. NHK also noted that there are over 600 passengers infected with coronavirus, with 28 — including the now three fatalities — in serious condition.
However, according to a press release from the cruise line, approximately six hundred guests were the first to be cleared by the Japanese Ministry of Health and released on Wednesday and "several hundred other guests" are expected to disembark on Thursday.
The ship originally carried about 3,700 people including crew members.
The virus, now known as COVID-19, has killed 2,118 people and has infected nearly 75,000 around the world, according to NBC News.
The Diamond Princess had the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of China, prompting criticism that the quarantine had not been executed properly.
“While the quarantine potentially conferred a significant public health benefit in slowing transmission, CDC’s assessment is that it may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission among individuals on the ship,” the Center for Disease Control said in a statement on Tuesday. “CDC believes the rate of new infections on board, especially among those without symptoms, represents an ongoing risk.”
About 300 Americans were previously evacuated under CDC orders.
In a video message posted on Monday the executive vice president for Princess Cruises, Rai Caluori, said the cruise line is “providing information to those who disembark so we can remain in full contact and provide travel support once the quarantine requirements in their home countries are complete."
Released passengers celebrated their freedom with posts on social media chronicling their first steps off the ship.
Holland America's MS Westerdam cruise ship, which docked in Cambodia last week after being turned away from five other ports, also began its disembarking process on Wednesday.
"The Cambodian Ministry of Health has issued a press release confirming that 781 Westerdam guests have tested negative for COVID-19. This completes the guests’ testing," a Holland America spokesperson confirmed to USA Today. "Given the announcement just this morning of all the negative test results which cleared people for travel, we are rapidly working on air arrangements and their details will be communicated to them once finalized."
Several hundred passengers have already begun their journey home. But 747 crew members will remain onboard the ship for additional testing.
The ship left Hong Kong on Feb. 1 and was denied disembarkment in the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam and Thailand. The cruise ship always asserted that its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members onboard were healthy.
On February 13, the ship docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. About 1,000 passengers were permitted to disembark after being checked for fever, according to the New York Times. But over the weekend, an American passenger who had been allowed to disembark was found to have been infected with coronavirus while she was passing through Malaysia. The incident raised concerns that other passengers aboard the ship had been infected and not discovered.
Since then, an additional 740 passengers underwent laboratory testing and had negative results, which suggests a large-scale outbreak did not occur onboard the ship.
Around the world, 75,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported since its outbreak, all but six of the 2,000 deaths have been in China.