4 Taiwanese infected with COVID-19 on Diamond Princess: CECC

Japan confirms 39 new virus cases, 174 total on cruise ship
Media gather outside the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Japan's Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the government was considering testing everyone remaining on board and crew on the Diamond Princess, which would require them to remain aboard until results were available. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — Taiwan listed the Diamond Princess cruise ship as a “COVID-19 infected area” on Tuesday, a day after Japan warned that outbreak has entered a “new phase”.

Four Taiwanese nationals on board have contracted the novel coronavirus, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心), two of which are asymptomatic.

Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) speaks at a press conference on Feb. 18, 2020. (CNA)
Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) speaks at a press conference on Feb. 18, 2020. (CNA)

Taiwanese passengers and crew members must take the charter flight arranged by the CECC to come home, Chief Commander Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) told a press conference, adding that epidemic prevention professionals and equipment will be on stand-by for them.

They will be asked to undergo examinations or put under quarantine as per the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC,疾管署) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) added.

As for when and how these people will be brought back, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA, 外交部) said that authorities are still negotiating with their Japanese counterparts at the moment, therefore details remain confidential until the plan is finalized.

The cruise ship docked in Japan saw yet another spike of 88 additional cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 542.