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Four Australians test positive as cruise coronavirus cases double

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Four Australian passengers are among about 60 people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined off Japan’s coast, who have tested positive to coronavirus.

Four more Australians on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off Japan's coast have tested positive to coronavirus.

Japanese health officials confirmed at least 66 more cases of coronavirus, taking the tally on board to 135, showing a rapid rise in the outbreak among the 3711 passengers and crew on the ship docked in the port of Yokohama.

"This is not news that anyone of us wanted to receive," the captain told passengers in a broadcast.

"However we have been also advised since we are in the early quarantine period of 14 days, it was not unexpected."

Officials were double-checking the results and could not release the exact figure, but the operator, Princess Cruises, said in a statement that there were 66 new cases.

Japan's health minister said the government was considering lab testing everyone onboard before they were allowed off the ship.

The nationality of the new cases are four from Australia, one from Canada, one from England, 45 from Japan, three from the Philippines, one from Ukraine, and 11 from the United States.

Seven Australians of the 219 on board had already tested positive for coronavirus.

The Diamond Princess has been quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, after carrying an infected passenger who got off in Hong Kong.

Work from home, Australian staff told

Recruitment website Indeed has told its Australia and Ireland-based employees to work from home to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus.

The company said one of its employees in Singapore might have been exposed to coronavirus after family members visited a facility caring for a coronavirus patient.

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Since some employees who visited Singapore also recently visited Indeed's Dublin and Sydney offices, the company said it had asked all employees in both offices to work from home for now.

A passenger waves Australian flags on the Princess Diamond which 64 passengers and a crew have been found positive in a new type coronavirus test at Daikoku Wharf in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

The company stressed that there were no confirmed cases of infection and said the move was a precaution to avoid any possible risk to the health and safety of its employees.

Indeed employs about 9000 people globally, with around 1000 of those based in Dublin.

There have been no cases of the coronavirus in Ireland so far.

Australia declared its first confirmed case last month.

The company said that business continues "uninterrupted across the globe".

Deadliest day so far for coronavirus

The Wuhan coronavirus claimed 97 more lives in China yesterday, bringing the global death toll to at least 910 and making it the deadliest day of the outbreak so far.

Authorities have confirmed the virus is now a bigger killer than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003.

Only two of the 910 deaths reported have been outside mainland China - one each in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Most of the deaths - 871- have been in Hubei province.

Brazilian authorities get ready for the arrival of two flights chartered by Brazilian government to bring 34 Brazilian nationals along with their relatives from the Coronavirus outbreak centre of Chinese city Wuhan, to a military base airport in Anapolis, Brazil.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China rose by 3,062 to 40,171 infections, China's National Health Commission said. Globally, more than 40,710 cases have been confirmed.

In comparison, during the SARS outbreak, a total of 774 people died and just over 8,000 were infected.

But the death rate for the coronavirus is still far below the 9.6 per cent rate for SARS. The coronavirus death rate stands at around 2.2 per cent globally, less than a quarter of SARS.

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As the virus continues to spread around the world, it emerged nine members of the same Hong Kong family have been infected with the deadly new coronavirus after sharing a hotpot and barbecue meal.

Several other countries announced new infections at the weekend, including Thailand, France and Singapore, which now has 40 cases of the virus.

The Princess Diamond which 64 passengers and a crew have been found positive in a new type coronavirus test anchors at Daikoku Wharf in Yokohama

Shares take a hit over virus fallout

The Australian share market has closed lower after global concerns about the coronavirus outbreak caused falls in most sectors.

After being down as many as 40 points in the morning, the S&P/ASX200 benchmark index rebounded somewhat in the afternoon to finish today down just 10.1 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 7,012.5.

The broader All Ordinaries index dropped 13.4 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 7,108.

Cruise ship still under lockdown

Meanwhile, all passengers onboard the World Dream cruise liner have disembarked - including 16 Australians who were forced to quarantine amid fears of an outbreak.

Luckily nobody tested positive for the virus, so they have been released.

Two other cruise ships are still either under quarantine or have passengers being investigated for the coronavirus.

In the United States, four passengers who had been taken to hospital with flu-like symptoms from Royal Carribean's Anthem of the Seas cruise ship tested negative for the coronavirus.

People in protective gear wait to enter a Boeing aircraft of the Italian Air Force with eight of the Italians who were stranded in Wuhan under quarantine measures to contain the coronavirus, at Mario De Bernardi military airport in Pratica di Mare, south of Rome, Italy.

WHO deploy crack team to China 

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Saturday it would be sending a team to China, beginning from Monday or Tuesday, to investigate the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at a news conference, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said they were fighting not only the virus but also the growing tide of incorrect information around it.

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"While the virus spreads, misinformation makes the job of our heroic health workers even harder. It is diverting the attention of decision makers. And it causes confusion and spreads fear to the general public," he said.

Cruise ship bound for WA amid virus fears

A luxury cruise ship has been diverted to Fremantle amid concerns about the deadly coronavirus.

Cruise operator Cunard has confirmed the Queen Mary 2 liner will skip scheduled stops in Singapore and several other cities, including Hong Kong.

The vessel will instead travel directly from Malaysia to Fremantle, arriving next Tuesday before embarking on an Australian itinerary.

Passengers and crew who had travelled from or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau within the last 14 days would not be permitted to board.

"The health and safety of our guests and crew is of utmost importance to us," Cunard said in a statement.

The company said it would continue to conduct pre-boarding screening while the ship, which can carry about 4000 passengers and crew, would also be regularly disinfected.

WA is yet to record a coronavirus case, with more than 50 people having returned negative test results.

With agencies

Source: 9News

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