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Ten cruise ship passengers in Japan test positive for coronavirus, 3,700 quarantined

Japanese officials said 10 passengers on the ship tested positive for the coronavirus and were taken to hospitals.

Japanese health officials are conducting extensive medical checks on all 3,700 passengers and crew of a cruise ship that returned to the country after 10 passengers tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Japanese officials said the 10 are among 273 people tested after one man who got off the ship in Hong Kong was confirmed to have the fast-spreading virus that emerged in China last December. Some tests are still pending.

The U.S.-operated Diamond Princess returned to a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, late Monday, ending a 14-day tour during which it stopped at Hong Kong and several other Asian ports before returning to Japan.

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The ship's captain said Monday night that Hong Kong's health authorities notified the ship about the passenger's infection on Saturday, according to a recording of the announcement tweeted by a passenger. According to the announcement, the patient is recovering.

Passengers on the ship will be quarantined on board for up to 14 days under Japanese law.

Deaths from the new virus have risen to 490 in mainland China and the number of new cases has increased to 24,324, as China moved patients into newly built or converted hospitals in the hardest-hit city of Wuhan.

Last week, a cruise ship in Italy was quarantined for screening after a traveler came down with flu-like symptoms after traveling from Macao. Testing on the passenger and her partner, who had not shown any symptoms, came back negative. The patients instead had the H1N2 flu virus. 

The ship had come from Mallorca to Civitavecchia, on a week-long Mediterranean cruise. Passengers on board were kept at the Port of Civitavecchia, north of Rome.