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Two Irish citizens test positive for coronavirus on cruise ship in Japan

The couple are understood to have tested positive for Covid-19 a number of days ago.

Visitors walking past the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship last Sunday.
Visitors walking past the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship last Sunday.
Image: Jae C. Hong

A COUPLE WITH dual citizenship has been diagnosed with the Covid-19 coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has confirmed. 

The couple was recently diagnosed with the coronavirus and moved from the ship to a hospital in Japan where they are currently being treated.

The man and woman share dual citizenship with another EU member state and are not normally resident in Ireland. 

Six Irish citizens were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship which is currently docked off Yokohama in Japan.  

The Irish Embassy in Tokyo is in ongoing contact with the couple regarding their consular needs. The embassy is also in contact with those who remain in quarantine on the ship.  

“We are reviewing our travel advice on a regular basis, and encourage anyone travelling or currently abroad to continue to check the DFAT website and to download our TravelWise app,” Coveney said. 

The pair diagnosed with Covid-19 are “ok, fine, but tired”, a source said. 

More than 500 cases of the virus were confirmed on the ship today. The quarantine period was due to end tomorrow after 15 days. 

3,700 people have been on board the ship for the past few weeks. 65 of the new positive cases were not yet showing symptoms when diagnosed.  

The Department of Health has not yet confirmed any cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.  

The HSE this afternoon said it was continuing to “advance preparedness plans here in Ireland” as 78 suspected cases have so far been tested nationally.

“While the overwhelming majority of cases to date have been reported in China, we continue to advance preparedness plans here in Ireland,” chief medical officer at the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan said. 

“Hospitals have designated leads for Covid-19 preparedness and isolation response requirements have been identified and are in place in order to deal appropriately with any suspected cases.

“We remain in a Containment Phase, and our actions are in line with guidance from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organisation.”

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre is updated daily with the latest information about the novel Coronavirus.

In Cambodia, nine Irish citizens are confirmed to have been passengers on another cruise ship in which one woman tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Seven of the Irish nationals are currently being screened, along with other passengers and crew. Only two of these are normally resident in Ireland.

Two other Irish citizens who were passengers on this ship returned to Ireland over the weekend and the Health Service was notified. 

The US cruise ship docked in Cambodia last Thursday after all passengers tested negative for the virus. However, one passenger later tested positive.

This led to authorities scrambling to track down the hundreds of people who had come into contact with the woman. 

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