Another 41 people on a cruise liner moored off Yokohama Bay have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, trebling the previous number of infected to 61 today.
Japan‘s health minister announced the findings on Friday from the remaining 171 test results taken earlier this week after a man who got off the Diamond Princess last month in Hong Kong later fell ill.
The huge leap comes amid concern among its 3,700 passengers that they are being kept in the dark about the full extent of the deepening crisis, after 10 cases were discovered on Wednesday and another 10 on Thursday.
One of the new cases is the fourth Briton to contract the disease.
Among the 78 Britons aboard the vessel – which has been ordered to remain at port for at least 14 days – is David Abel, who is becoming somewhat of an international celebrity through his regular Facebook videos.
This morning, Mr Abel who is with wife Sally, said: ‘My major concern now is to let the captain and the crew know, that we want to be informed of what is going on. We don’t want second-hand news, we don’t want rumours, we want to know precisely what is going on.’
Indeed, in his recent video, Mr Abel, of Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire, spoke of 22 confirmed cases, apparently unaware that the figure had risen to more than 60 overnight.
A woman holds a Japanese flag that reads ‘shortage of medicine’ on the cruise ship Diamond Princess as another 41 people tested positive for the deadly coronavirus on Friday. The huge leap comes amid concern among its 3,700 passengers that they are not being kept abreast of the full extent of the deepening crisis, after 10 cases were discovered on Wednesday and another 10 on Thursday.
This morning, Briton David Abel who is with wife Sally, said: ‘My major concern now is to let the captain and the crew know, that we want to be informed of what is going on. We don’t want second hand news, we don’t want rumours, we want to know precisely what is going on’
Japan Self-Defence Forces officers use canvas sheets to cover the walkway from the cruise ship Diamond Princess on Friday as another 41 people tested positive for the deadly flu-like virus after 20 were rushed off to hospitals on the mainland earlier this week
The Diamond Princess cruise ship, with over 3,700 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, is seen anchored at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port
‘The results of the remaining 171 tests came out and 41 tested positive,’ health minister Kato told reporters today.
‘Today they will be sent to hospitals in several prefectures, and we are now preparing for that.’
‘In total, out of 273 specimens, 61 tested positive,’ he added.
The 20 people who were earlier diagnosed with the virus have already been removed from the vessel and taken to hospitals.
Mr Abel said today: ‘We haven’t had our temperatures taken we haven’t been asked any more questions … that has not happened for days so how are the medical people able to monitor the health situation of 3,600 passengers on board.
‘So this is what needs to be answered.’
He also raised concerns that, along with the 78 other Britons on board, he might be quarantined yet again when they arrived home and taken to the Wirral, where 93 were transferred after being flown back from Wuhan by the government.
‘It would really be good if the Home Office would put something on the news.’ Mr Abel added. ‘It would certainly put the minds of the Brits on board at ease.’
Mr Abel posted a follow up video minutes later, saying that the captain had announced over the tannoy that ambulances were arriving to ferry passengers off the boat. The Briton confirmed the fact after looking out of his window.
A passenger waves next to another wearing a face mask from the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where 10 more people were tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, as it is anchored at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan on Friday
A Japan Self-Defences Forces officer wearing a face mask is seen next to the cruise ship Diamond Princess as the ship was prepared for resupply
Passengers aboard the infected vessel look at to land today. Mr Abel said officials had asked passengers to wear their masks when going out on their balconies and remaining at least a metre apart
A man wearing protective gear is seen at the port where cruise ship Diamond Princess as preparations were made for further supplies to be delivered this morning
Yesterday officials could be seen dressed in white hazmat suits, complete with face masks and helmets. An extendable white-tented passageway was wheeled to a door on the side of the massive cruise ship, apparently to protect the identity of people being evacuated from the boat.
As the massive cruise ship docked, passengers who have been told they will have to stay aboard days even if they test negative for the virus, came out onto balconies, some waving to assembled media or taking pictures.
People on board have described confusion and boredom after being confined to cabins following the decision by Japanese authorities to quarantine the vessel.
Mr Abel said yesterday: ‘One lady hadn’t had an evening meal last night, by nine o’clock and she went outside to try and say, “Where’s our food” and she was shouted at and told, “Get back in your room”, so it’s really being enforced.
‘There are people on every floor to make sure that people do not wander outside of their cabins.’
Among those stranded on board are 233 Australians, including Olivia Capodicasa, from Melbourne, who was on the final night of her cruise with her grandmother when the ship was locked down.
Olivia Capodicasa (pictured) was on the final night of her cruise with her grandmother when the ship was locked down
The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed 630 lives and infected more than 28,000 people in 28 countries and territories around the world – but 99 per cent of infections have been in China
For breakfast, quarantined cruisers yesterday were served a measly fruit salad, pastries (both sweet and savoury), a Fru Fru yoghurt and a glass of apple juice
Health workers in protective suits put up hoardings on Wednesday as passengers who were diagnosed with the virus are moved
Officers in protective gear carry luggage cases after people who were transferred from cruise ship Diamond Princess on Wednesday when the first 10 people were taken off, another 10 were confirmed to have the virus on Thursday, and another 41 on Friday
She described the conditions as being like ‘hell’ and said she had been watching movies to pass the time.
‘It has been a hell of a 24 hours stuck in here’, she told Sunrise on Thursday morning. ‘I think it is really starting to hit me now that this is the reality and I’m not going home anytime soon’.
The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed 630 lives and infected more than 28,000 people in 28 countries and territories around the world – but 99 per cent of infections have been in China.
The outbreak has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency, several governments to impose travel restrictions, and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.
An ambulance and Japan Coast Guard members in protective outfit prepare for the arrival of infected passengers that were onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, at Yokohama port on Wednesday when another ten were rushed off to hospitals on the Japanese mainland
Despite some of the ship’s 3,700 passengers complaining of ‘prison’ like quarantine conditions they were seen gallivanting on the colossal ship’s galleries on Thursday within arms reach of their neighbours
Japan has now confirmed 25 cases of the new coronavirus – excluding the cruise ship infections – among them citizens returning from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.
Tokyo has evacuated more than 500 Japanese citizens from Wuhan, and attracted some criticism for its relatively loose quarantine approach.
There have been several incidences of apparent person-to-person transmission in Japan, including a tour guide and bus driver who contracted the virus after coming into contact with visitors from Wuhan.
Neither had visited China in recent months.