Japan’s Well being Minister Katsunobu Kato speaks throughout a press briefing on the ministry in Tokyo on February 20, 2020. Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP
Round 100 extra passengers had been allowed to disembark from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship on Saturday as Japan’s well being minister apologised after 23 others had been allowed to go away with out being correctly examined.
The information got here as a Japanese girl who left the ship on Wednesday examined constructive for the virus after returning dwelling to Tochigi Prefecture, Kyodo information company reported, citing the prefectural authorities.
She is the primary particular person to have examined constructive for the virus among the many group of roughly 970 passengers who disembarked earlier this week, it mentioned.
The 100 passengers who left on Saturday had been in shut contact with contaminated folks on board, native media mentioned.
They included the final group of Japanese passengers to go away the ship, whereas some overseas passengers had been nonetheless ready on board for his or her governments to ship chartered plane.
Tv footage confirmed a driver in a white protecting go well with on the wheel of a bus with the curtains drawn in order that passengers couldn’t be recognized.
They are going to be quarantined for 2 weeks close to Tokyo, officers mentioned.
An official apology
At a information convention on Saturday, Well being Minister Katsunobu Kato apologised for 23 passengers having been allowed to go away the ship with out present process all of the required assessments.
“We deeply regret that our operational mistake caused the situation,” Kato mentioned, including that the passengers could be examined once more.
With the newest disembarkation, a 14-day quarantine is predicted to start out for greater than 1,000 crew nonetheless on board.
Lots of them weren’t positioned in isolation as they had been wanted to maintain the ship working — making ready meals and delivering meals to cabins. Critics have charged that they had been inadvertently spreading the virus all through the ship, which has seen greater than 600 instances of the doubtless lethal COVID-19 illness.
Kato defended Japan’s on-board quarantine, telling a TV programme Saturday there was no medical facility massive sufficient to confess greater than three,000 folks directly.
Talking on the information convention, Kato mentioned six Australian passengers examined constructive after leaving Japan.
In the meantime, 18 repatriated Individuals and one Israeli who returned dwelling from the ship have examined constructive, authorities from the 2 nations introduced Friday.
Kato additionally confirmed that a Japanese hospital on Saturday used the anti-influenza treatment Avigan, also called Favipiravir, to deal with a affected person contaminated with the virus.
Earlier within the day, Kato mentioned the federal government would push for the usage of such medicines in the event that they had been confirmed to be efficient.
Exterior the Diamond Princess, Japan has seen 105 instances of the brand new coronavirus.