Diamond Princess has been under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan, since 5 February, with 219 cases of coronavirus confirmed on board.
Among the infected, 15 are crew members and one is a quarantine officer. With the quarantine set to end on 19 February, passengers on board Diamond Princess have been given the opportunity to leave the ship, and continue their quarantine on shore.
In a statement issued this morning (13 February), a Princess Cruises spokesperson said: “Princess Cruises has been informed that over the next several days, Japanese health officials are planning a voluntary disembarkation of guests to complete their quarantine period at a shoreside facility.
“From the information available it is our understanding that this will be a phased approach, with the most medically vulnerable guests in the first phase, including older adults with pre-existing health conditions.
“According to officials, guests in the first group will be tested for the 2019 novel coronavirus. If the test is positive, they will be transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and isolation. If the test is negative, they will be given the option to leave the ship and be transported to a quarantine housing facility.”
The statement also provided details of the facilities that the passengers will face, revealing that the housing facility will include individual rooms and individual bathrooms.
There will be no clinics at the facilities, but prescription medication will be provided for passengers. If people require further medical care they can be transported to a nearby hospital.
Unlike the catering on board Diamond Princess, the food available in the facility will not accommodate dietary preferences, but will accommodate certain medical conditions.
All meals served will be in Japanese bento-style boxes, with no Western meals provided.
“Princess Cruises confirmed that all guests on Diamond Princess remain welcome to stay onboard through to the end of the quarantine period,” continued the statement.
“Princess Cruises also confirms the announcement, from Japan health officials, of 44 new positive cases of coronavirus on board Diamond Princess.”