The United States is preparing for the evacuation of U.S. citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama over the outbreak of a new coronavirus on board, USA media reported.
"Incredibly disappointed that the U.S. Government has chose to throw a monkey wrench into the quarantine we have maintained here on board the Diamond Princess", tweeted Matt Smith, an American lawyer.
Off the coast of Japan, more than 3,500 passengers and crew members have been quarantined for more than a week aboard a Princess Cruises ship where at least 170 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.
There were reports of 2,641 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 143 deaths on Friday from 31 provincial-level regions, it said.
There is also growing concern over possible infections among people who disembarked from the MS Westerdam in Cambodia on Friday, after it was confirmed that one passenger, who later flew to Malaysia, tested positive for the virus. But as more cases have been identified onboard, it's unclear whether Japan's ministry of health will extend the quarantine.
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"Incredibly disappointed that the U.S. Government has made a decision to throw a monkey wrench into the quarantine we have maintained here on board the Diamond Princess", tweeted Matt Smith, an American lawyer.
Smith complained about having to begin a new 14-day quarantine even though he was due to get off the ship next week.
"Those who test negative will, at the request of the individual, disembark and be transferred to accommodation provided by the government", he said in a statement in English read out by the ship's captain.
One quarantine official who was on board the ship also tested positive during the week.
The Canadian government said late on Saturday that it had chartered a plane to bring it citizens who are passengers on the ship home.
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Coronavirus, which originated in central China, has infected more than 67,000 people globally, the vast bulk of them in China, killing 1,526.
The embassy said all passengers would be screened before being allowed to board the chartered flights and everyone would be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival back in the United States.
The expert joins an worldwide team in Japan to gather information about the passengers on board.
While China dispatched more medical teams and poured more resources to virus-hit Hubei and its provincial capital Wuhan, experts of the World Health Organisation (WHO) are converging here this weekend to join Chinese health specialists to contain the virus.
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Those who make it onto the plane will be brought to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in southern Ontario, the government said.