Canadians wait for flight home as COVID-19 numbers rise on quarantined ship | CBC News

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Japanese health authorities say they have confirmed 88 more cases of COVID-19 on a quarantined cruise ship near Tokyo, bringing the total to 542 — including 32 Canadian cases.The quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess is seen at the Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Tuesday. Canadians who have not tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to fly home later this week, where they will undergo another quarantine period. (Koji Sasahara/The Associated Press)Japanese health authorities said Tuesday they have confirmed 88 more cases of the new virus on a quarantined cruise ship near Tokyo. The new cases bring the total on the Diamond Princess to 542.Global Affairs Canada has said there were 256 Canadians on board the ship. Of those, 32 have tested positive for COVID-19, which is caused by the new coronavirus. Canadians and permanent residents who are healthy will be eligible to board the charter flight, which is now expected to leave Japan on Thursday. As with previous charter flights bringing people to Canada from the outbreak’s epicentre in Wuhan, China, the flights will arrive at CFB Trenton. From there, passengers will be taken to the AV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ont., for a 14-day quarantine. Global Affairs said it would continue to provide support for Canadians who stay in Japan after the plane leaves. On Monday, more than 300 American passengers, including 14 who tested positive for coronavirus, landed back in the U.S. after they were flown out of Japan on charter flights. They were quarantined at military bases in California and Texas. The Japanese government has repeatedly defended the effectiveness of the quarantine and bristled against criticism that the ship became a virus incubator instead of a quarantine facility. Westerdam passengers returning home Meanwhile, passengers from another cruise ship that docked in Cambodia last week after being turned away at five other ports were expected to start flying home on Tuesday, following tests for the new coronavirus, the country’s prime minister said. An American woman who had been on the Westerdam cruise ship tested positive for the virus at the weekend after a special flight chartered by the cruise line reached Malaysia, prompting renewed scrutiny for the hundreds of passengers and crew still on board or ashore in Cambodia. On Sunday, two Canadians who were aboard the Westerdam returned home via Vancouver Airport. Canadian health officials have asked passengers who were on the cruise to isolate themselves for 14 days, and to report to local public health authorities within 24 hours to be monitored for symptoms of COVID‑19. Holland America Line, which is owned by cruise giant Carnival Corp, said 255 guests and 747 crew are still aboard the Westerdam, which docked at the port of Sihanoukville in Cambodia on Friday, awaiting clearance. “We anticipate this will take several days and greatly appreciate the thoroughness of all authorities involved in resolving this situation,” a statement from the cruise line said. Another 406 passengers who had been transferred to Phnom Penh have tested negative for the infection. Hospital director dies in hard-hit Wuhan China, meanwhile, reported 1,886 new cases and 98 more deaths on Tuesday. That raised the number of deaths in mainland China to 1,868 and the total number of confirmed cases to 72,436, according to China’s National Health Commission. The outbreak has caused massive disruptions and China may postpone its biggest political meeting of the year to avoid having people travel to Beijing while the virus is still spreading. One of the automotive industry’s biggest events, China’s biannual auto show, also is being postponed, and many sports and entertainment events have been delayed or cancelled. Despite strict rules on use of masks and safety suits, medical workers have been prominent among the victims, particularly in the early stage of the outbreak. Wuhan’s health bureau announced Tuesday that Liu Zhiming, a hospital director, became infected and died despite “all-out” attempts to save him. He is at least the seventh health worker to die of the COVID-19 disease among the more than 1,700 doctors and nurses who have become sick. His death comes as authorities are cautiously cheering a reduction in the number of new daily cases and deaths, along with the results of a study showing most people who contracted the virus experienced only mild symptoms.

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