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Cruise passengers to be quarantined at new estate

2020-02-18 HKT 04:13
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  • Passengers will swap cabins on the Diamond Princess for flats on the new Chun Yeung Estate. File photo: RTHK
    Passengers will swap cabins on the Diamond Princess for flats on the new Chun Yeung Estate. File photo: RTHK
More than 300 passengers from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship will be sent to a newly-built public housing estate for quarantine when they arrive in Hong Kong from Thursday, the government announced early on Tuesday.

Two chartered flights will leave Tokyo late on Wednesday to bring home Hong Kong people who've been stuck on the Diamond Princess since February 5.

According to a post on an official government Facebook page, they'll spend 14 days in quarantine at the Chun Yeung Estate in Fo Tan, as most of the 150 spaces at four other quarantine centres are full.

The government said 21 people who've been diagnosed with the disease, as well as their close contacts and other suspected cases, will stay in Japan.

Some passengers had complained about the prospect of being sent to quarantine centres despite testing negative for the virus, although they were happy to be quarantined in their homes.

The idea of using new public housing estates as quarantine centres has proved massively controversial. Protesters in Fanling clashed with police and started fires at an estate there, before the government scrapped plans to use it for quarantine.

There have also been protests at Fo Tan, including by people who were expecting to move into the new flats. The government says the facility is hundreds of metres away from homes, and move-in dates had not been confirmed.

The Japanese authorities on Monday reported about 100 new cases of coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess, making it the biggest outbreak beyond China.

American passengers were allowed to fly home on Monday.