A further 66 passengers on board Diamond Princess have contracted coronavirus, taking the total number of people infected to 136.

The Japanese health ministry confirmed the cases over the weekend and on Monday following further testing.

The ship is believed to be the largest centre of cases outside China.

The new cases are from Australia (four), Canada (one), UK (one), Japan (45), Philippines (three), Ukraine (one) and USA (eleven).

The ship, carrying 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew, has been placed under quarantine in Yokohama for 14 days with two cruises cancelled.

The line said it was “not unexpected that additional cases would be reported involving individuals who were exposed prior to the start of the quarantine”.

It said it was following guidance from the Japan Ministry of Health on plans for disembarkation to provide medical care for the new cases.

The quarantine end date is February 19 “unless there are any unforeseen developments”, the line added.

Separately, ten guests were taken off the ship for non-coronavirus related medical reasons over the weekend and transferred to local hospitals, the line said.

The line’s president Jan Swartz issued a video statement over the weekend and said the company was working with the Japanese authorities to distribute medication to guests not relating to coronavirus, based on medical priority.

Telephone counselling is also being offered to all guests.

The line said guests will receive a full refund for their cruise fare, including air travel, hotel, ground transportation, pre-paid shore excursions and gratuities.

They will also receive cruise credit to use on a future sailing.

Meanwhile, thousands of passengers who were kept on board the World Dream cruise ship in Hong Kong for four days have been allowed to disembark.

Around 3,600 passengers and crew on the ship were quarantined amid fears some staff could have contracted the virus on an earlier voyage but tests for coronavirus came back negative.

There have been more than 37,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China, where it originated, overtaking the Sars epidemic.

The  number of people in the UK who have contracted coronavirus has doubled to eight.

On Monday the UK government declared coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat” to public health.


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