10 people with virus on cruise ship
About 10 people on a cruise liner at the Japanese port of Yokohama have tested positive for coronavirus, according to local media reports.
Japan's TV Asahi has reported health screening began on Tuesday local time for some 3700 passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess after a Hong Kong passenger who sailed on the vessel last month tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus.
All passengers and crew have now been quarantined on the ship.
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The 80-year-old man flew to Japan and boarded the Diamond Princess, run by Carnival Japan, in Yokohama on January 20 and disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25, the company said.
Photographs and video posted on Twitter by a passenger with the handle @daxa_tw showed masked health workers clad in blue plastic gowns walking down empty corridors as well as views of deserted lounges and a barren deck.
Guests awaiting screening were asked to stay in their cabins, where they answered a questionnaire and had their temperatures taken.
Some family members expressed concern about relatives trapped on board.
"Unaffected people can easily say 'keep them out' but my whole family wants my precious sister to come home safe," wrote one Twitter user.
Carnival Japan, a unit of British-American cruise operator Carnival Corp, confirmed the turnaround of the ship had been delayed by about 24 hours for authorities to review the health of all 2666 guests and 1045 crew on board. About half of those on board were Japanese, a company spokeswoman said.
Carnival's Princess Cruises Japan later said cruises scheduled to depart from Yokohama on Tuesday and the western Japanese port of Kobe on Thursday would be cancelled because of delays related to the coronavirus checks.
Once everyone's health was checked, those with fevers or who felt unwell would be tested, after which authorities would decide whether to let people leave the ship, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.
Public broadcaster NHK said authorities were checking whether the Hong Kong man who later tested positive had disembarked when the ship docked in Kagoshima, southwest Japan.
NHK also said that when the ship made a stop in Naha on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, about 10 passengers got off after checks showed no passengers had fever or other symptoms.
Also on Tuesday, Japan expanded the scope of its screening for the virus generally after some people who had not met criteria for testing were later found to be infected.
Opposition parties and some experts have criticised the government for responding too slowly to the risks following the outbreak of the coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. So far, the epidemic that has claimed more than 420 lives in mainland China.
Chinese nationals make up 30 per cent of all tourists travelling to Japan and nearly 40 per cent of the total amount foreign visitors spent last year, according to an industry survey.
Japan has 20 confirmed coronavirus cases, and of these, 17 people have been in Wuhan.
On Saturday, Japan began refusing entry to foreigners who have been in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, in the past 14 days as well as people with passports issued in Hubei.
Suga said that as of February 3, eight foreigners had been barred from entering Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary panel the government would be flexible about expanding areas in China from which visitors would be banned, depending on trends in China.
Some countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the United States, have denied entry to all foreign nationals travelling from China.