National / Science & Health

Canada and Hong Kong to evacuate passengers from virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship

Reuters, Staff Report

Canada and Hong Kong are planning to charter planes to evacuate their citizens onboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner docked in Yokohama, the two governments said in separate statements Saturday.

Canadian passengers who exhibit symptoms of the COVID-19 infection will not be permitted to board the flight and will instead be transferred to the Japanese health care system to receive appropriate care, the government said.

After arriving in Canada, the passengers will undergo a 14-day period of quarantine, the statement added.

The United States and Hong Kong have said they will send aircraft to Japan to bring back passengers from the quarantined cruise ship, which has seen the most coronavirus infections outside of China, with 355 as of Sunday morning.

The cruise ship, owned by Carnival Corp. and carrying some 3,700 passengers and crew, has been quarantined in Yokohama since Feb. 3 after a man, who disembarked in Hong Kong before it traveled to Japan, was diagnosed with the virus.

In Hong Kong, the city’s Security Bureau said chartered flights would return residents to the city for free once Japanese authorities had confirmed the plan.

The passengers will be required to undergo a further 14 days of quarantine after arriving in Hong Kong, the bureau added.

There are around 330 Hong Kong residents on board, including 260 holding Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong passports and roughly 70 people with foreign ones.

The cruise liner’s quarantine is set to end on Wednesday.

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