Two people who were quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan have died of coronavirus, Japanese officials said Thursday, just over a week after being released from the ship.
They are the first two people to die out of the 634 confirmed cases of coronavirus on the ship, which carried about 3,700 passengers. People have been quarantined on the ship for more than two weeks, although many passengers have been let off if they test negative for the virus.
The victims were a man and a woman in their 80s, NBC News reported, and the man had left the ship on Feb. 11, followed by the woman on Feb. 12. They were both Japanese nationals.
The procedures for containing the spread of the virus on the cruise ship were, according to one expert, not effective at all. Kobe University Hospital professor Kentaro Iwata said the procedures followed for the quarantine were "chaotic."
American citizens who were aboard the ship were evacuated by the U.S. Department of State earlier in the week, including some who tested positive for coronavirus. Those who tested positive were placed in 14-day quarantine, mostly at military bases in California and Texas, while some others were moved to hospitals.
The Department of Defense has designated 14 military bases that are located near major airports to be used as quarantine locations.
Japanese nationals who tested negative and were released from the ship are being urged, but not required, to stay home for a couple of weeks.
"COVID-19 is not 100 percent known, and a lot of people got infected on the Diamond Princess. Japanese health minister Katsunobu Kato said, according to Fox News. "Taking those factors into consideration, we believe taking extra caution will contribute to preventing the risk of future infections."