Japanese minister through dust after releasing coronavirus patient

Twenty-three of the approximately 970 passengers who left the Diamond Princess cruise ship earlier this week, disembarked without being sufficiently tested for the coronavirus. The Japanese authorities have announced this. One of the departed passengers, a Japanese woman in her sixties, turned out to be infected with the virus.

The Diamond Princess has been in a Japanese port since the beginning of February. The authorities placed the ship under quarantine because of the virus outbreak, but since Wednesday, people who do not have the virus may disembark.

Around 970 passengers have left in recent days. The infected woman in her sixties also went on board with her husband on Wednesday and then traveled by public transport to the province of Tochigi, where she went into quarantine. It became clear there that she was infected with Covid-19.

“Our sincere apologies for the situation caused by our carelessness,” said Minister Katsunobu Kato at a press conference on Saturday night. “We will do everything we can, including double checks, to prevent a recurrence.” According to the Japan Times, the 23 passengers who were on board but were not accidentally tested will also be checked for the virus.

A bus with passengers who were allowed to leave the Diamond Princess
©AP – A bus with passengers who were allowed to leave the Diamond Princess (21/02/2020).

There are still non-Japanese passengers on the ship, but they are waiting for their repatriation. There are also around a thousand crew members on board. For example, they have been delivering meals in recent weeks and now have to go into quarantine.


So far, at least 769 people have tested positive for the virus in Japan, including the 26 who were found infected on Saturday. In most cases, they were passengers and crew members of the Diamond Princess.

ANP, Reuters, Japan Times
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