Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.30 6 Feb 2020


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Two Irish passengers are among thousands of people quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan over coronavirus fears.

Thousands of passengers and staff will be quarantined for two weeks on the Diamond Princess after 10 people tested positive for the infection.

The Department of Foreign Affairs here said it's aware of the case and is providing Consular Assistance.

The Diamond Princess is currently quarantined off Yokohama.

Freelance reporter Vincent McAviney spoke to Breakfast Briefing about the situation for the 3,700 people on board the cruise ship.

He said: "Hearing from [passengers]... what they've been saying is that they've all been confined to their rooms.

"They've been given free internet and phone access on the ship to stay in contact with loved ones.

"They just keep getting drop-offs of sandwiches outside of their doors.

"Two weeks stuck in that kind of condition could be pretty trying for these people."

It comes as the number of deaths from coronavirus in China has hit more than 560, with over 28,000 confirmed cases.

The vast majority of the cases have been recorded in the province of Hubei, where the outbreak originated.

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping insisted his country has the 'confidence and capability' to win its battle against the virus.

The World Health Organisation, meanwhile, has warned that urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems "to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus".

Director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom said: “My biggest worry is that there are countries today who do not have the systems in place to detect people who have contracted with the virus, even if it were to emerge."

25 countries around the world have currently recorded cases of the virus.

Main image: Cruise ship Diamond Princess is anchored off the shore of Yokohama, south of Tokyo. Picture: Hiroko Harima/Kyodo News via AP

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