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Fourteen US passengers from Diamond Princess cruise test positive for coronavirus amid evacuation from Japan

Fourteen US citizens, who were passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, have tested positive for coronavirus as they were evacuated home from Japan.

More than 300 US citizens are being repatriated after spending almost a fortnight isolated on the ship off the coast of Yokohama in Japan since February 3.

The ship has become one of the focal points of the outbreaks as 3,500 people were quarantined on the ship while hundreds fell ill with the Covid-19 virus.

Passengers were finally given the green light to disembark the ship over the last few days.

US passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who have chosen to leave, are transported by shuttle bus in Yokohama to Haneda airport (via REUTERS)

During the evacuation process of US passengers, it emerged that 14 individuals had tested positive for coronavirus, the US State Department and the Department of Health and Human services said in a joint statement.

US officials were told of the results after the passengers had left the ship and were on the way to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, the statement added.

A US passenger thumbs up to reporters while arriving at the Haneda Airport, in Tokyo (AFP via Getty Images)

The State Department said they made the decision to allow the infected individuals, who were in isolation and separated from other passengers, to continue their journey home to complete the evacuation process.

Two flights carrying the passengers were headed to Travis Air Force Base in northern California and Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.

A bus believed to carry the US passengers of the cruise ship Diamond Princess as they board a flight home. (REUTERS)

They departed Japan on Sunday and are due to land in the US on Monday morning, where all passengers will go into a two-week quarantine at the respective military bases.

The statement read: “All passengers are being closely monitored by medical professionals throughout the flight, and any who become symptomatic will be moved to the specialised containment area, where they will be treated.

US passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who have chosen to leave, are seen in a chartered evacuation aircraft to fly back to the United States (via REUTERS)

“Upon landing in the United States, passengers will deplane at either Travis AFB or Joint Base San Antonio and will remain under quarantine for 14 days.

“Passengers that develop symptoms in flight and those with positive test results will remain isolated on the flights and will be transported to an appropriate location for continued isolation and care.

“Every precaution to ensure proper isolation and community protection measures are being taken, driven by the most up-to-date risk assessments by US health authorities.”

It comes as China announced a further 2,048 cases of the disease on Monday as the death toll rose by 105 to 1,770.

The number of people infected globally stands at around 70,000, the vast majority of whom are in China.

Source: Evening Standard UK

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