A passenger who left the ship Princess Princess after completing the quarantine period last week tested positive for a new coronavirus test this Saturday (22), making it the first known case of infection among people on the cruise, Japanese officials said.
The patient is a 60-year-old woman from the city of Tochigi, north of Tokyo, who was on the ship with her husband, said Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda.
In a test carried out on February 15, the result had been negative for coronavirus, four days before leaving the ship, without having any symptoms. The couple took a train home, officials said.
Despite the strong doubts raised inside and outside the country, the authorities of the Ministry of Health insisted that the possibility of other passengers who completed the 14-day quarantine and did not have a positive result for the virus, is almost nil.
Some experts and former passengers criticized the quarantine, saying measures to prevent infection were inadequate. USA, Australia and other governments that removed their citizens from the ship are requiring an additional two-week quarantine.
Japan's Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Saturday that 18 Americans, six Australians and an Israeli passenger who were expelled from Japan by their respective governments before the ship's quarantine ended had positive results after returning home. He said the results were understandable because those passengers did not fully comply with the ship's more stringent release requirements.
Kato also said that 23 passengers left the ship at the end of the quarantine without being tested for the virus due to procedural errors, another sign of negligence in the quarantine, where more than 600 people were infected.
Japan confirmed more than 760 cases of the new virus, which first appeared in China, including at least 634 people present on the Diamond Princess cruise, which anchored and was quarantined in Yokohama, near Tokyo. The ship initially carried around 2,600 passengers and 1,100 crew.