All crew members have left virus-hit ship in Japan: Minister


All crew members from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan have now disembarked, the country's health minister said.

The crew began leaving the Diamond Princess on Thursday for quarantine ashore after the last of the passengers had departed.

"Including the captain, all crew members disembarked," health minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters late Sunday.

READ | South Africans who tested positive for coronavirus on Japan cruise ship will not return until given all clear

Around 130 people - including the captain and 98 health ministry officials who were working aboard - tested negative for the virus as they left the vessel, he said.

They will spend 14 days at government-designated dormitories before being allowed to leave Japan, while the vessel will be disinfected before sailing again.

At least six people who were hospitalised after being taken off the ship have died, including a British male passenger, the health ministry said.

On Sunday a 78-year-old man evacuated from the vessel died at a Perth hospital, becoming Australia's first fatality from the disease.

Japan quarantined the cruise ship after an 80-year-old passenger who disembarked on January 25 in Hong Kong tested positive for the deadly virus.

The quarantine has been heavily criticised after more than 700 people on board tested positive for the virus.

The ship carried about 3700 passengers and crew members when it reached the port of Yokohama.

Kato said the government "will have to review the whole process", but for now authorities were focusing on efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

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