43 Canadians test positive for coronavirus on quarantined cruise ship

Feb 18 2020, 11:22 am

After Canada announced that it has chartered a plane to evacuate Canadians quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan amid an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the federal government said on Tuesday that at least 43 out of 256 Canadians aboard the ship have tested positive for the virus.

Now, the Canadian embassy is working with Japanese authorities, Princess Cruises representatives, and other partners “to provide full possible consular support…to the Canadian passengers who are on board and in local hospitals,” Global Affairs spokesperson Barbara Harvey told Daily Hive.

On February 15, the Canadian government secured a chartered aircraft to repatriate Canadians on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

“We will continue to provide full support to those Canadians who will remain in Japan following the plane’s departure,” said Harvey.

The flight is expected to depart Tokyo Haneda Airport on Thursday, February 20.

“The aircraft will bring passengers from Japan to Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, after which passengers will be assessed and transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ontario, to undergo a further 14-day period of quarantine,” said Harvey.

Diamond Princess, a Carnival cruise lines ship, is docked in harbour in Yokoyama, Japan. According to the World Health Organization, more than 200 people from the cruise have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

On February 12, the ship’s owner, Princess Cruises, announced Japanese health officials are allowing passengers to disembark voluntarily to complete their quarantine on land. The most medically vulnerable passengers will be allowed to disembark first.

The novel coronavirus, named COVID-19 by the WHO, emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. It’s believed the virus jumped from an animal host to a human in a chance encounter at a market in the city.

So far, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 49,000 people and killed more than 1,300, mostly in China, according to the WHO.

There are currently eight confirmed cases of the virus in Canada — three in Ontario and five in British Columbia.