Coronavirus: Two more confirmed cases on infected Princess Diamond cruise ship

18 February 2020, 18:05

The passengers were on board the Princess Diamond cruise ship
The passengers were on board the Princess Diamond cruise ship. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Two Irish passengers who were onboard the Princess Diamond cruise ship have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, Tanaiste Simon Coveney has confirmed.

The two Irish ex-pats are being treated in a Japanese hospital after testing positive for Covid-19. Six Irish citizens were on board the cruise ship, which is currently docked off Yokahama.

It is the same ship that Britons Sally and David Abel - who have also tested positive for the virus - were travelling on.

In a statement, Mr Coveney said: "Two of these tested positive for Covid-19 and are currently being treated in hospital in Japan.

"These citizens share dual citizenship with another EU member state and are not normally resident in Ireland.

"Our embassy in Tokyo is in ongoing contact with them regarding their consular needs."

He added: "We are also in close contact with those who remain in quarantine on the ship.

"We are working with our EU partners and other like-minded countries regarding options for their return.

"Nine Irish citizens were passengers on the Westerdam Cruise Ship, which is currently docked off Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

"Seven are currently being screened, along with other passengers and crew.

"Our embassy in Hanoi is in ongoing contact with the citizens regarding their consular needs.

"Only two of these seven are normally resident in Ireland."

US passengers have been taken off the quarantined ship
US passengers have been taken off the quarantined ship. Picture: PA

Speaking to RTE's Morning Ireland, Mr Coveney said Department of Foreign Affairs officials are working with Irish nationals on both ships to make sure they are safe.

The department said it could not comment on individual cases.

In a statement, it added: "We are closely following the events concerning the Diamond Princess and we are in contact with the Irish citizens concerned.

"We are continuing to liaise closely with like-minded countries, EU partners and the health authorities in Japan and here in Ireland concerning the best course of action."

Hundreds of people have tested positive for the virus onboard the quarantined Diamond Princess.

Britons are currently being tested for coronavirus in Cambodia after leaving a cruise ship where an elderly woman was diagnosed with the illness, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Passengers disembarked from the Holland America Westerdam ship on Friday, and hundreds have undergone testing for the virus.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is "working to organise" a flight back to the UK for British nationals onboard a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan due to coronavirus fears.

The department has faced pressure to fly home the 74 Britons on the Diamond Princess after the US chartered two planes and repatriated 340 of its citizens.

"Given the conditions on board, we are working to organise a flight back to the UK for British nationals on the Diamond Princess as soon as possible," a statement from the department said.

"Our staff are contacting British nationals on board to make the necessary arrangements. We urge all those who have not yet responded to get in touch immediately."

In China, almost 1900 people have died from the infection, known as Covid-19, which has struck down thousands.