Two Japanese passengers who had been on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship have died after being infected with the novel coronavirus. Japan’s health ministry says the male and female passengers were hospitalized last week. They were both in their 80s.
The man and woman are the first Diamond Princess passengers to die during the COVID-19 outbreak. The cruise ship has been under a quarantine at Yokohama’s port near Tokyo since Feb. 3.
Both of the passengers died about a week after tests confirmed they were infected with the respiratory virus. The male passenger was from Kanagawa prefecture and the female passenger was from Tokyo, the health ministry said. It added that while the man died from COVID-19, the woman died from pneumonia.
A total of 634 people from the Diamond Princess have tested positive for COVID-19, the Japanese agency said. More than half that number are identified as “asymptomatic pathogen carriers,” meaning that while they don’t show signs of the illness, they can still transmit the disease to others or become sick themselves.
The deaths were reported as the governments of Hong Kong, Australia, Israel, Canada and other countries work to bring their citizens home with the expiration of the shipwide 14-day quarantine. Like the Americans who recently arrived in the U.S., those passengers face new quarantines.
When passengers test positive for the novel coronavirus, they’re taken off the ship and are sent to local hospitals. Those diagnoses also reset the 14-day quarantine period for their traveling partners and close contacts.
About 3,700 passengers and crew were aboard the Diamond Princess when it initially arrived at the Yokohama terminal. That number is now dropping by the hundreds