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Coronavirus

41 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Yokohama cruise ship

Japan denies entry to foreigners on another cruise ship from Hong Kong

The Diamond Princess off the coast of Yokohama. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said foreigners on a second cruise ship would not be allowed to enter Japan.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's health ministry on Friday confirmed 41 new cases of coronavirus infections on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Yokohama. So far 273 individuals have been tested, with a total of 61 positive results.

The 41 newly confirmed cases, which include elderly and foreign nationals, will be transported to medical institutions in Kanagawa, Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Shizuoka.

Meanwhile, a fourth government-chartered flight bringing Japanese citizens home from Wuhan landed at Haneda Airport on Friday. Among its 198 passengers were Chinese spouses of Japanese citizens. This brings the total number of people who have returned from Wuhan on four chartered flights to 763.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that foreigners aboard a Carnival cruise ship from Hong Kong carrying more than 2,200 people will be banned from entering the country.

"There has been an individual on the ship that is suspected to have the new coronavirus," Abe said at a response meeting on the ongoing outbreak. "Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we will deny entry to the ship's passengers based our immigration law."

The ban is to take effect from Friday. Carnival told U.S. media on Thursday that it was unaware of any coronavirus cases on the Westerdam, which is carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members.

The Westerdam left Hong Kong on Saturday and docked in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, before entering Japanese waters. It was scheduled to stop in Naha, Hakata and other locations before a port call at Yokohama, although one stop had already been canceled.

Several Japanese citizens are passengers on the Westerdam, a government source said. Japan plans to urge the ship to return to Hong Kong, and expects Japanese passengers to fly home.

"We will respond the same way if we become aware of any other similar situations," Abe said.

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