Filipino crew member in Japan cruise ship tests positive for 2019-nCoV

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2020 05:11 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2020 07:04 PM

Cruise ship Diamond Princess is seen anchored off the Yokohama Port in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan February 4, 2020. Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters

MANILA (UPDATE)- A Filipino crew member was among the 10 people confirmed to have the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), after they were tested while onboard a cruise ship docked in Japan.

The sailor is the first known case of a Filipino infected with 2019-nCoV. 

In a statement Wednesday, ship line Princess Cruises said that apart from the Filipino sailor, two Australians, three Japanese, three Hong Kong residents and an American tested positive for the virus after their ship, Diamond Princess, was quarantined off Yokohama.

Around 31 results from 273 tests were shown so far by Japanese health authorities.

The patients will be taken ashore by authorities and sent to local hospitals for medical treatment, Princess Cruises said. The ship and around 2,600 passengers and 1,045 crew will remain under quarantine in Yokohama.

"The length of the quarantine will be at least 14 days as required by the Ministry of Health," Princess Cruises said.

According to the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, at least 538 Filipinos are also onboard the ship. 

"The Embassy is in constant communication with the Filipinos remaining onboard and is closely coordinating with Japanese authorities to provide them all possible assistance," the embassy said in a statement on Facebook.

Passengers took to social media to detail their predicament, posting photos of officials in masks and gowns conducting health checks, room service meals, empty corridors, and a barren deck.

British guest David Abel said all passengers were confined to their cabins on Wednesday morning, with staff delivering food room-by-room.

"The challenging situation for me is that I'm an insulin-dependent diabetic," Abel said in a video taken in his cabin and posted to his Facebook page, adding that regular and timed food intake was a key part of managing his condition.

A 43-year-old Hong Kong resident on the ship with six family members, including his wife and son, said that as of lunchtime Wednesday, they had gotten coffee and water but no food. They were hungry but had snacks of their own, he said.

"I am not looking forward to the range of emotions in the next two weeks," he told Reuters from his family's windowless room. "Will deal as they come."

The ship line said they will also be canceling their next two cruises departing Yokohama.

The ship had been quarantined after an 80-year-old passenger from Hong Kong who disembarked was found to be infected with the pneumonia-causing 2019-nCoV.

-- With reports from Kyodo News and Reuters