Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama port. Picture: Reuters
Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama port. Picture: Reuters

South Africans who caught coronavirus on Japanese cruise ship 'recovering'

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 1, 2020

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Cape Town – The two South African working on a Japanese cruise ship who tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19) are "recovering" and will return to the country only once they have tested negative.

This was stated on Sunday by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at a media conference. 

The duo were part of the crew of the Diamond Princess, which has been parked off the coast of Yokohama, Japan.

On February 25, the government was alerted by the Japanese authorities that there were 12 South African crew members working on the cruise ship when it was affected by the coronavirus. 

"We have been assured that they are recovering. When they test negative, they will be free to return, except those going through quarantine.

"We are in constant contact with our embassy in Japan and the Diamond Princess parked off the coast of Yokohama.

"Thereafter they will return without restrictions," Mkhize said.

Regarding the evacuation of the 151 citizens who will be returning from Wuhan, China, who have not tested positive for the virus, Mkhize said they would have to go through a 21-day quarantine period.

Mkhize said strict quarantine protocols would be adhered to and no one will be allowed into the arrival and quarantine sites – meaning their families have an anxious wait before they can see them again. 

The locations will be kept confidential and the military will be deployed to quarantine them. The operations will start within seven to 10 days.


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