Surprise Outbreak Grows on Cruise Ship Docked in Japan


Jonathan Levin and Takashi Hirokawa
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(Bloomberg) — Coronavirus cases are mounting among crew on a passenger-less cruise ship docked in Nagasaki, Japan, raising alarm among local health officials just months after another large outbreak in their waters.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 infections on the Costa Atlantica had climbed to 91 as of Thursday from 48 a day earlier, the Nagasaki prefecture said. About 60 more were found positive after the testing of 290 crew members, NHK reported on Saturday, citing local officials.
The Atlantica is operated by CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping, a partnership between Carnival Corp. and state-owned China State Shipbuilding Corp. The Chinese entity is the majority owner.
Coronavirus cases at sea forced the industry to suspend new sailings in mid-March. Many ships were caught mid-voyage, leading to weeks of drama as companies hustled to get passengers to ports.
Even now, ships around the world still have crew on board.
The episode has captured the attention of Japan’s government, which already faced a widespread Covid-19 outbreak on Carnival’s Diamond Princess, at one point the largest concentration of coronavirus cases outside of mainland China.
Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said Thursday that all crew will now be tested on the Costa Atlantica.
Since the first case was confirmed on Monday, authorities have been investigating how the outbreak began, since the ship has been at port without passengers for weeks, and crew members weren’t supposed to have left the vessel.
Kato said some of the crew apparently got off the vessel at some point.
(Updates with new confirmed cases in second paragraph)
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