A cruise ship that was denied entry in Japan over coronavirus fears sailed back to Taiwan on Saturday, February 8, with everyone onboard being tested for the virus.
Chen Shih-Chung, Health and Welfare Minister, boarded SuperStar Aquarius as soon as she docked at the northern port of Keelung around noon, with a team of medical staff to perform screening of the 776 crew members and 1,738 passengers.
Most of the passengers are from Taiwan, while 237 Chinese are among the crew. According to the ship reports, 41 of the guests have recently traveled to China, where the coronavirus is spreading.
Before boarding the ship, Chen told a news conference that all passengers could "go home later in the day and self-monitor their health conditions afterward" provided no one tests positive for the coronavirus. However, he added that if there was only one person who tested positive for the virus, the infected person would be taken off the vessel for medical treatment and the rest quarantined onboard for at least 14 days.
Preliminary examinations showed no passenger had a fever.
The cruise ship, which left Keelung port on Tuesday for a 4-day round-trip sailing, was denied permission to dock in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.
On Thursday, Taiwan implemented its own ban on cruise ships from visiting the island’s ports, but Chen indicated on Friday that an exception had been made for the ship because of the high proportion of Taiwanese guests.
On Saturday, the Central Epidemic Center announced 1 more confirmed case, bringing the total in Taiwan to 17. The new case is a man in his 20s. He traveled with his parents to Italy through Hong Kong between January-February.
On Thursday, the country imposed a blanket ban on Chinese tourists entering from the mainland.
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China has risen to 722, with over 34,500 people infected, Chinese health authorities announced on Saturday.
For other SuperStar Aquarius accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.