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33 more crew on cruise ship docked in Nagasaki test positive for virus

An additional 33 crew members on an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs in southwestern Japan have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 34, the Nagasaki prefectural government said Wednesday.
After a Philippine crew member aboard the Costa Atlantica, which is docked in the Koyagi district of Nagasaki city, was confirmed as infected with the virus on Tuesday, the city said it would test 53 people who had been in close contact with the crew member as well as four of the vessel's cooks.
The results of 56 people's tests have been publicly released so far, with 23 coming back negative.
Those who had been in close contact with the crew member who tested positive have been quarantined, while other crew members have been staying in cabins with balconies. There are no passengers aboard the cruise ship, which has a crew of 623.
A senior Nagasaki government official said Monday there could be a cluster of coronavirus infections aboard the ship, which arrived in Nagasaki on Jan 29 and is scheduled to remain until the end of April.
The ship was originally due to undergo repairs in China but Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, eventually received the repair order due to the virus outbreak, which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
In Tokyo, health minister Katsunobu Kato said Tuesday he will dispatch ministry officials and specialists from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases to the ship.
Since the first virus infection in Nagasaki Prefecture was confirmed in the city of Iki on March 14, no one has boarded or disembarked from the Costa Atlantica. Nagasaki has so far confirmed about 20 cases of coronavirus infection in the prefecture, including the case of the crew member.


© KYODO
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