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Taiwan bans cruise ships port calls on Wuhan coronavirus fears

ROC Central News Agency

02/06/2020 05:33 PM

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) International cruise liners will not be allowed to make port calls in Taiwan, with immediate effect, as the novel coronavirus has shown no signs of abating across the globe, the country's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Thursday.

The decision was made earlier in the day during a weekly Cabinet meeting, with experts all agreeing on the issue, Minister of Health and Welfare and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) confirmed at a news conference after the meeting.

It was the latest move by the Taiwan government to combat the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province in mid-December and has since infected tens of thousands of people and killed hundreds, mostly in China.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that a Taiwanese woman traveling on the Diamond Princess cruise liner was among 10 passengers infected with the Wuhan coronavirus -- the second wave of infections confirmed on the ship after it arrived in Japan on Monday on a round trip cruise that included a 10-hour stop in Taiwan's Keelung Port on Jan. 31.

On Wednesday, the first group of 10 patients -- nine passengers of various nationalities and a Filipino crew member -- was diagnosed with the virus.

The ship, carrying 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members, has been quarantined off the coast of Yokohama since it returned to port there on Monday.

The vessel was quarantined after a Hong Kong man, who disembarked at his home port during the trip, tested positive for the 2019-nCoV and was hospitalized in Hong Hong.

On Tuesday, Japan's heath ministry said it had completed the "first phase" of health screening of everyone on board the ship, according to international media reports.

The Diamond Princess cruise got underway in Yokohama on Jan. 20 on a 14-day round trip that included Keelung and Hong Kong, but it ended one day early on Feb. 3.

(By Flor Wang and Chen Wei-ting)


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