Japan’s Health Ministry confirmed an additional 39 cases of the novel coronavirus on a cruise ship in Yokohama, bringing the total number of infections from the quarantined vessel to 174.
Defense Minister Taro Kono tweeted that a quarantine officer from the health ministry also tested positive for the virus. Bloomberg reports.
Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess cruise ship has become the biggest center of infection of any place outside of China. The ship has become a case of concern because of the possibility of more infections in the vessel’s confined spaces, and the increased risks to elderly passengers.
Four of the people infected on the cruise ship are in intensive care, Kyodo reported.
Japan Expands Ban to Foreigners Who Have Visited Zhejiang
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will ban entry by foreigners who have visited the Chinese province of Zhejiang. The restrictions will take effect Feb. 13. Japan has already banned entry by foreigners who have visited Hubei Province in the previous 14 days, in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.
Cruise Ship Risks Running Low on Supplies
Countries could continue to refuse to berth the Westerdam cruise ship carrying 2,257 people, citing fears of the deadly coronavirus, until conditions on the luxury liner become so dire that it invokes an emergency.
The cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp.’s Holland America Line could be forced to wait until it’s in distress — running out of water, food or fuel — before international law-of-the-sea conventions kick in and legally obligate the closest country toadmit the vessel or provide help, according to maritime experts.
“The countries are all passing the buck until it lands in the lap of someone who has to take the ship because the ship’s run out of fuel or food,” said Jean-Paul Rodrigue, a professor of transit geography at Hofstra University in New York. “When the ship is in distress, the nearest port of call will be bound in this case to help. That’s the law.”
Thailand on Tuesday became the fifth country or territory to deny the Westerdam access to its ports, according to the World Health Organization. The ship’s operator has said it has no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board.
By Michelle Cortez