COVID-19: 5 Singaporeans on board Diamond Princess allowed to disembark

The cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama. (PHOTO: Reuters/Issei Kato)

SINGAPORE — The five Singaporeans who were on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, have been allowed to disembark from the ship.

According to a media statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Friday (21 February), the Singaporeans will be quarantined again should they return to Singapore within 14 days from the date of their disembarkation. This is an additional precautionary measure according to Singapore’s current public health protocol due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

“The Singapore Embassy in Tokyo has been in touch with the Singaporeans, who have indicated that they will remain in Japan for a further 14 days before returning to Singapore,” an MFA spokesperson said in the media statement.

“(It) will continue to maintain contact with and provide consular assistance to the Singaporeans, who have been advised to monitor their health closely during this period.”

MFA also thanked the Japanese government and relevant authorities for their assistance to the Singaporeans during the quarantine period.

A total of 3,711 people on board the Diamond Princess, including 1,100 crew members, went into quarantine off Japan on 5 February, after it emerged that a former passenger had tested positive for the new coronavirus.

It started letting passengers who tested negative for the virus off the ship on Wednesday, when the 14-day quarantine set by the Japanese government ended.

The cruise ship has become the site of the most infections outside of mainland China, where the COVID-19 virus emerged late last year.

As of Thursday, there have been 634 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection among the people on board the Diamond Princess.

Two elderly passengers taken off the ship because they were infected with the virus have died, Japan's Health Ministry said on Thursday, becoming the first fatalities from the virus-stricken vessel.

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