148 cruise ship crew in Nagasaki test positive for virus

NAGASAKI -An additional 57 crew members on an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs at Nagasaki port in southwestern Japan have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 148, the Nagasaki prefectural government said Saturday.

The prefectural government made the announcement after completing the testing of all 623 crew members, including one Japanese translator, aboard the Costa Atlantica docked at a plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. in Nagasaki.

Out of 335 crew on the passenger-less ship tested by Friday, 91 had been confirmed as being infected with the virus, one of whom is a crew member who was first confirmed as infected on Monday, according to the prefecture.

One of the infected crew has been hospitalized at a designated medical facility in the city due to severe symptoms, while the other 622 have stayed on board.

The Nagasaki government will consult with the central government on how to treat the infected crew on board, such as sending them to medical institutions.

The 622 crew are staying in cabins, but the living spaces between those who tested positive and negative are not strictly separated, so that an infected crew member would be staying in a room next to that of an uninfected one, according to the Nagasaki government.

Self-Defense Forces personnel, who have been dispatched to collect crew’s samples at the request of Nagasaki Gov. Hodo Nakamura, will continue to engage in onboard medical support, the prefectural officials said.

Japan’s health minister Katsunobu Kato and Costa Crociere, the ship’s operator, have said the government is preparing to send crew members who have tested negative to their home countries.

According to the operator, the crew members are from more than 30 nations, mostly Asian, but the prefecture has not disclosed the details of those who tested positive for COVID-19, the pneumonic disease caused by the virus.

The vessel operator also said Friday its two other cruise ships anchored nearby will leave Japan “within the next few days” after being supplied with necessities.

KYODO NEWS

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