Transport World

Nearly 50 crew members test positive for virus on Italian cruise ship

The Costa Atlantica infections come after the cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama two months ago, where more than 700 passengers and crew were found to be infected, although this time only crew members were on board.

Nearly 50 crew members on an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs in Japan’s Nagasaki have tested positive for the new coronavirus, raising concern about the strain on the city’s hospitals if conditions worsen for those infected.

Results on Thursday showed 14 more aboard, all either cooks or those serving food, were infected with the virus, an official in Nagasaki prefecture said. One patient who had been taken to hospital previously was now in serious condition and on a ventilator, he told a live-streamed news conference.

The Costa Atlantica infections come after the cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama two months ago, where more than 700 passengers and crew were found to be infected, although this time only crew members were on board.

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The Costa Cruises-operated ship was taken into a shipyard in Nagasaki in western Japan in late February by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries after the COVID-19 pandemic had scuttled plans for scheduled repairs in China.

The latest cases have raised concern about the potential impact on Nagasaki residents after revelations some crew had left the restricted area despite assurances from the ship operator that they would stay within the wharf, according to Nagasaki officials. Details on their movements were still being sought, officials said.

Authorities are also concerned about the potential rise in patients who require hospitalisation, as an increase in domestic coronavirus cases strain medical services around the country.

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Japan has seen more than 11,500 infections and close to 300 deaths from the new coronavirus, excluding figures from the Diamond Princess.

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