2 cruise ships have been quarantined over the coronavirus: 1 released its passengers, the other is seeing more people get sick
- Two cruise ships were quarantined last week after they carried passengers infected with the novel coronavirus.
- One ship, the World Dream in Hong Kong, allowed passengers to disembark on Sunday after crew members tested negative for the virus.
- The other ship, the Diamond Princess in Japan, saw its number of infected passengers rise to 70 on Sunday.
- Passengers on board the Diamond Princess now report going "stir-crazy" and hoarding food in their cabins.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Two cruise ships quarantined over the deadly coronavirus sweeping across China have met different fates.
One ship, the World Dream stationed in Hong Kong, allowed passengers to disembark on Sunday after the ship's crew members tested negative for the virus. The other ship, the Diamond Princess stationed near Tokyo, Japan, continues to report more cases of the virus on board, with the number of infected passengers rising to 70 on Sunday. At least 14 of those passengers are American, NBC News reported.
The coronavirus outbreak has killed more than 800 people and infected more than 37,000 people internationally as of Sunday. On Saturday, World Health Organisation officials said new cases have begun to taper off in recent days, though the overall death toll and number of infected patients continues to rise.
The virus has now claimed more lives and infected more people than the SARS outbreak did in 2003. It has also spread to at least 25 countries outside China.
Both the World Dream and Diamond Princess were quarantined last week after the ships learned that they had previously carried infected passengers. But as the World Dream passengers start their journey home, passengers on board the Diamond Princess are growing restless their cabins.
Here's the latest on the quarantines.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined on February 3, with around 3,700 passengers and crew on board.
The vessel was put on lockdown after an 80-year-old man who disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25 tested positive for the virus. The ship was quarantined upon arrival in Yokohama, Japan, on January 31.
The quarantine is set to last for at least 14 days, during which time carriers of the virus can be infectious. Symptoms of the virus include fever, coughing, chills, headache, difficulty breathing, and a sore throat.
Two days later, the World Dream cruise ship quarantined 3,600 passengers and crew members.
The Dream Cruises line learned on February 3 that the ship had previously carried eight infected passengers, who tested positive for the coronavirus after they disembarked on January 24.
The ship has sailed four times since then, and some passengers on those subsequent trips might have been onboard at the same time as the sick passengers, the South China Morning Post reported. On February 4, the ship's crew sealed off the cabins that previously held the infected passengers.
Other cruise ships have been temporarily detained, or had their travel schedules disrupted, due to the virus.
An Italian cruise ship, the Costa Smeralda, was placed on lockdown on February 6 after a 54-year-old woman developed a fever and flu-like symptoms on board. The quarantine only lasted for about a day - the woman tested negative for the virus and passengers were allowed to disembark.
Another ship was delayed in Bayonne, New Jersey after four passengers were sent to the hospital to be tested for the virus on February 7. Their tests came back negative as well, and the ship is scheduled for a delayed departure on Monday.
Before the quarantine was lifted, passengers on the World Dream entertained themselves by watching movies or playing games.
The passengers hailed from multiple countries, including the UK, Australia, and Canada. Some people passed the time on board by playing mahjong, a tile-based game similar to rummy.
Three days before the quarantine ended, a passenger told the South China Morning Post that some travelers' medication was running out.
World Dream passengers were allowed to disembark on Sunday, without being tested for the virus.
On February 5, Hong Kong's health department reported that 33 crew members on board had developed "upper respiratory tract infection symptoms," and three were sent to the hospital. All of the ship's 1,800 crew members tested negative for the virus on Sunday.
A shuttle bus service was provided for passengers leaving the ship. The passengers were not tested for the virus, nor will they be required to self-quarantine once they return home.
Agence France-Presse reported that Hong Kong's chief port health officer, Leung Yiu-hong, said testing passengers was unnecessary since they are at relatively low risk of contracting the virus.
Meanwhile, passengers on the Diamond Princess say they are going stir-crazy in their cabins.
The ship's auditorium, casino, restaurants, and cafes are closed, so passengers have food delivered to them. Some passengers have tweeted photos of their meals, which include boiled eggs, fruit, and cereal for breakfast and bread and ham for lunch.
One passenger, who asked to be identified only as Shannon, told Business Insider she was "hoarding" water and food because she didn't know when more would come.
"I genuinely feel for those folks who don't have air," Shannon said, referring to the ship's cheaper rooms, which don't have windows or balconies. Passengers with balconies have been leaning across them to talk to fellow travelers, The Japan Times reported.
"It's my first and possibly last cruise," Shannon said. "I feel completely lost at sea."
At least 70 cases of the virus have been confirmed on the Diamond Princess. Some passengers worry that the quarantine could be fueling the outbreak.
Japan's health ministry confirmed six new cases on Sunday, including a US citizen in her 70s who lives in Hong Kong. There are now 14 confirmed cases of the virus among Americans on board.
In a statement to NBC News, the ship's cruise line, Princess Cruises, said the vessel had received a new shipment of medication and was providing guests with phone access to trained counselors.
Some passengers told the New York Times they were worried about the virus being spread by workers delivering meals, or through the ship's ventilation system.
Cruise industry experts told Business Insider that a ship's cramped quarters can fuel the spread of illness, but many added that cruise lines are well-equipped to handle an outbreak.
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