Two top Hong Kong officials were leading a team of immigration and health officers to Japan on Monday to evacuate more than 300 Hong Kong people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been held in quarantine since February 3 over an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Sources said Under Secretary for Security Sonny Au and Director of Immigration Erick Tsang would lead the delegation.
A chartered flight was being arranged free of charge for the Hong Kong passengers, who will be sent to quarantine centres for two weeks after they come back to the SAR.
A total of 355 people on board the ship currently docked at the Yokohama port have been infected with the new Covid-19 virus, with 21 of them Hong Kong residents.
A Hong Kong passenger, surnamed Yeung, said Japanese health workers had collected samples from him to test for the virus. He said if he tests negative, he doesn't think he should have to be quarantined for another two weeks after coming back to Hong Kong.
But infectious disease expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, David Hui, said the number of passengers becoming infected on the ship has continued to increase. He said this shows the virus is still very active and the ship has already been contaminated.
He said it would be best to quarantine passengers for another two weeks after they leave the ship.
Some American were evacuated from the ship by two planes chartered by the US government in the early hours of Monday.
They will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine after arriving in the US.
Top officials to bring HK cruise passengers home
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