A British man aboard a cruise ship anchored in Japan has revealed passengers only learned 10 more people on board had apparently contracted coronavirus from watching the news.
Passengers on Carnival's Diamond Princess, which arrived in Yokohama on Monday after a 14-day round trip, are currently quarantined on the ship off Yokohama port near Tokyo.
An 80-year-old Hong Kong man tested positive for the virus after disembarking the ship late last month, and subsequently 10 people tested positive and were taken to hospital to be quarantined.
However, with the 3,700 passengers restricted to their rooms, Brit David Abel claims they were not aware that another 10 people aboard had tested positive, claiming they have been left completely in the dark.
Among the ship's passengers are 78 Britons with pictures showing many gathering on the ship's galleries on Wednesday to wave at onlookers and press, some in face masks, but many within touching distance of those in other rooms.
74-year-old David, who is on holiday with wife Sally, said: "We have not been informed as passengers. So, does this mean the quarantine will now be extended? We don't know.
"These are questions that need answering yesterday. This should be given top priority. So please captain of the ship, I'm sure you're receiving these news bulletins, but we are not being informed sufficiently. Why not?"
"You must know what the plan of action is and we passengers would really like to know.
"How will this affect our quarantine? Will more days be added to it because of this?
"Are the 10 additional passengers still on board the ship? If not, where are they being taken to?" he added.
Japanese authorities have tested 273 people among the passengers and crew, it has been reported.
Japan's national broadcasting agency NHK reported the 10 extra cases on the ship, citing the health ministry.
If the new infections are confirmed, that would bring the total number of coronavirus patients in Japan to 45.
A passenger using the handle @daxa_tw tweeted early Thursday morning that crew members handed out medication refill request forms for those in need of medicines.
David, who has been posting regular video updates on Facebook, had previously said passengers have received "no food or drink" since the ship anchored.
Gay Courter, an American novelist aboard the cruise liner, said: "It's surprising how the ship that was turning out 5,000 gourmet meals three times a day has found it difficult to deliver sandwiches and one hot meal. Where did they put the Escargot and sushi?"
"Of course our biggest worry is that we have been infected at some point," the 75-year-old added.
"We are hopeful that the U.S. government will be sending transport for the Americans on board it's better for us to travel while healthy and also if we get sick to be treated in American hospitals."
Pictures and footage emerged earlier this week on social media showing the empty corridors, deserted lounges and barren deck of the Diamond Princess.
Meanwhile, another 73 people on the Chinese mainland died on Wednesday from the coronavirus outbreak, the highest daily increase so far, bringing the total death toll to 563, the country's health authority said on Thursday.
The National Health Commission said another 3,694 coronavirus cases were reported throughout the country on February 5, bringing the total to 28,018.
It's the third consecutive record daily rise, as experts intensified efforts to find a vaccine for a disease that has shut down Chinese cities and forced thousands more into quarantine around the world.
Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, earlier reported 70 deaths on Wednesday, and 2,987 new confirmed cases – more than 80% of the total.
The other fatalities on Wednesday were in the city of Tianjin, the northeastern province of Heilongjiang and Guizhou province in the southwest.
Hubei province in central China has been in virtual lockdown for nearly two weeks, with its train stations and airports shut and its roads sealed off.
The flu-like virus was first identified in Hubei's provincial capital of Wuhan and is believed to have originated at a seafood market in the city.
There have been two deaths outside mainland China – in the Philippines and Hong Kong – both following visits to Wuhan.
Hundreds of foreigners have been evacuated from Wuhan and placed in quarantine centres around the world.
The Diamond Princess is one of two cruise ships in Asian waters on lockdown.
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