By Tony Winterburn • 15 February 2020 • 8:23
The Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama, Japan
The United States has agreed to evacuate Americans from the cruise ship that has been quarantined for more than a week in Japan due to coronavirus infections on board, the United States Embassy in Tokyo told Americans aboard the ship this morning.
American passengers and crew members were told in an email from the embassy that a chartered flight would arrive on Sunday for those who wanted to return to the United States.
The ship, the Diamond Princess, was placed under quarantine at the city of Yokohama early last week with about 3,700 passengers and crew members aboard after a man who had disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Since then, at least 218 new cases have been confirmed aboard the ship.
Many passengers have expressed fear that the quarantine, meant to protect Japan and keep the virus from spreading, was putting them at risk. Experts have said that infections could have spread aboard the ship, despite measures taken to isolate people.
Japan has more confirmed coronavirus cases — the vast majority of them from the Diamond Princess — than any country outside China, where the outbreak began, and it reported its first death from the virus on Thursday.
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