Second Brit tests positive for coronavirus on quarantined cruise ship

10 February 2020, 11:09

The Diamond Princess is under quarantine
The Diamond Princess is under quarantine. Picture: PA

A second British national has tested positive for coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship which is currently under quarantine in Japan.

On Monday Japan's health minister announced 66 more people on the ship tested positive for the virus.

The announcement takes the total number of confirmed cases on the ship to 136, which has increased from the previous number of 70 among the 3,711 passengers and crew.

The new cases included one Briton, 45 Japanese nationals, 11 Americans, four Australians, three people from the Philippines, one Canadian and one Ukrainian.

The ship is quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, where the first Brit who tested positive has said he could soon be set for release.

The news comes as the British government declares the outbreak a "serious and imminent threat to public health" as the death toll rises in China.

On Monday the Department of Health announced new measures to deal with coronavirus patients as those with the virus can now be forcibly quarantined and will not be free to leave, and can be forcibly sent into isolation if they pose a threat to public health.

The coronavirus death toll has risen to 908 as China's health ministry announced a further 97 deaths, and said another 3,062 cases had been reported over the previous 24 hours.

The total number of cases in mainland China has hit at 40,17 which was a 15% increase from Saturday.

Alan Steele, from Wolverhampton, who caught the virus while he was on a honeymoon cruise with his wife, Wendy, is currently in a hospital in Japan.

Mr Steele wrote on Facebook: "Doctor has given me the set plan of action for my discharge and as long as I pass the tests I will be free on Friday.

"Would have been Thursday but Japan on holiday tomorrow so no one to do the test results lol.

"Heard bad news on more cases on ship but possible good news is all will now be tested so if your free of virus they should let you go."

Passengers on the ship have been restricted to their cabins at times
Passengers on the ship have been restricted to their cabins at times. Picture: PA

If he is declared free of the virus he will not be allowed to rejoin his wife on board the ship as it will remain under quarantine until at least February 19, when the 14-day quarantine period ends.

Health minister Katsunobu Kato said the Japanese government was considering testing all passengers and crew on the ship, which would require them to remain on board until results are available.

"We are doing the utmost to keep everyone in good health," he said.