Diamond Princess cruise ship
The Diamond Princess cruise ship is seen at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 27, 2020.
| Credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI / Getty

A final group of 130 crew members have left the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato announced during a press conference Sunday that the ship — that was carrying 3,711 people — is now ready for sterilization and safety checks, according to The Associated Press. However, he did not announce a timeframe for when the checks will be completed. 

Of all the passengers and crew on board the ship that set sail on Jan. 20, 705 contracted coronavirus. The ship became quarantined when one passenger from Hong Kong had the virus. The ship docked at Yokohama port near Tokyo from Feb. 4 to Feb. 19. As the number of reported cases grew under quarantine, the ship was under scrutiny for what some critics believe was an improperly executed quarantine.

“We should investigate the case so that we will not expand infections again,” Kato insisted during the press conference.

Of the five passengers on the ship who died, four were elderly Japanese citizens, one was a British man. 

Hundreds of foreign passengers were allowed to return home immediately after disembarking the ship. Some of these passengers returned home via public transportation, despite a mandated self-quarantine period. Several were discovered to have been infected with the coronavirus after they left. 

Passengers who were evacuated by their home countries were flown home and quarantined for 14 days again upon return. American passengers who evacuated were sent home via charter plane that landed at California and Texas military bases for further quarantine before being released. 

The last crew members to leave the ship will also undergo another health inspection after completing quarantine.