14 more on cruise ship off Japan test positive

14 more on cruise ship off Japan test positive

TOKYO — Japanese officials said Thursday that 14 more crew members on an Italian-operated cruise ship docked in southern Japan have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total of the on-board outbreak to 48.

The Costa Atlantica has been docked in Nagasaki since late January for repairs and maintenance by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. The ship has 623 crew members, including a Japanese translator, and no passengers. One of the infected crew members has since become seriously ill and was sent to a hospital, where he is currently on a ventilator, Nagasaki officials said.

The remaining crew members are without serious symptoms and are being self-quarantined in single rooms on the ship, except for those on duties essential to keep the ship functions, including cooking and delivering food for their colleagues, officials said. The new cases were among those on essential duties, the officials said. Officials plan to test all the remaining crew members by Friday.

The case surfaced Tuesday when a crew member was tested after developing cough and fever, becoming the first known case on the ship.

Nagasaki officials are investigating how and where the crew members contracted the virus. Crew members who passed body temperature and other requirement had been allowed to go in and out of the ship.

As infections in Japan continue to spread nationwide, the outbreak on the cruise ship has raised concerns about testing and hospital capacity in Nagasaki. All of Japan is now under a coronavirus state of emergency.

Nagasaki officials have said they plan to have the rest of the crew members quarantine themselves on board unless they develop serious symptoms, and seek ways to let others who tested negative return to their countries.

Earlier this year, a U.S.-operated cruise ship carrying more than 3,700 people quarantined in Yokohama, near Tokyo, had 712 cases in a massive on-board outbreak. Separately, Japan has confirmed about 12,000 cases, with 300 deaths.