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.
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 99 additional cases on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 454.