Australian virus expert arrives in Japan to help cruise


The expert joins an international team to gather information about the passengers, including the 200 Australians aboard.

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The US is sending an aircraft to Japan to bring back US passengers on the Diamond Princess, where the most coronavirus infections outside China have occurred.

The Australian Embassy in Tokyo emailed citizens aboard the cruise ship to say the federal government is also examining options to assist Australians.

Two buses leave a port on Saturday, where the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship is docked in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP

A passenger cleans the window of his cabin on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship. Picture: Jae C. Hong

A passenger cleans the window of his cabin on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP

The federal government last week extended the two-week travel ban from mainland China for another seven days to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry states it’s “absolutely paramount” to keep citizens safe from the virus, but it is a “savage blow” to the nation’s tourism.

“Tourism and trade would greatly benefit from even a partial lifting of the ban from provinces in China that present a much lower risk to Australians,” Australian Chamber Tourism Executive chair John Hart wrote.

A South Korean flag hangs outside a cabin of the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise. Picture: Jae C. Hong

A South Korean flag hangs outside a cabin of the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP

A group of quarantined passengers exercise on the Diamond Princess. Picture: Jae C. Hong

A group of quarantined passengers exercise on the Diamond Princess. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP

A quarantined passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship stretches on the balcony of his cabin on Saturday. Picture: Jae C. Hong

A quarantined passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship stretches on the balcony of his cabin on Saturday. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP

The Maritime Union of Australia is concerned its members are at risk by the arrival of container vessels from mainland China, which it says in some cases are docking in breach of the travel ban.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese raised the issue with the government and the chief medical officer, and has been assured they are aware of the situation.

No quarantined Australians at Christmas Island and Darwin have tested positive for the virus and the first group of evacuees are due to return home on Monday.

A quarantined passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship stands on the balcony of his cabin next to a Russian flag on Saturday. Picture: Jae C. Hong

A quarantined passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship stands on the balcony of his cabin next to a Russian flag on Saturday. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP

A quarantined passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship stretches on the balcony of his cabin on Saturday. Picture: Jae C. Hong

A quarantined passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship stretches on the balcony of his cabin on Saturday. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP

Of the 15 coronavirus cases in Australia, six have been cleared and the remaining nine are all stable.

In China, the total number of people infected by the virus rose to more than 66,000 on Saturday, with the number of deaths passing 1500.

A South Korean flag hangs outside a cabin of the quarantined Diamond Princess. Picture: Jae C. Hong

A South Korean flag hangs outside a cabin of the quarantined Diamond Princess. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP

The quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship is docked at a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Picture: Jae C. Hong

The quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship is docked at a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Picture: Jae C. HongSource:AP



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