TOKYO, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Two Japanese passengers from the novel coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama have died after being infected with the virus, government officials said Thursday.
The deaths of the two elderly passengers, a man and a woman both in 80s, are the first fatalities of the quarantined ship that has been docked in Yokohama Port near Tokyo.
According to the officials, both individuals had preexisting conditions and the man was taken off the ship on Feb. 11 to receive treatment at a medical facility, with the woman following a day later.
On Thursday, a second group of around 500 passengers are disembarking from the vessel, following 443 people, mainly elderly, who left the ship on Wednesday after their two-week quarantine period had concluded and they had tested negative for the virus.
A third group from the remaining passengers, are expected to disembark the vessel on Friday, health officials have said.
Those still onboard the vessel who have come into close contact with people confirmed to have been infected with the virus are required to stay on the quarantined ship until they have been monitored for the requisite amount of time and test negative for the virus.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship was initially carrying around 3,700 passengers and crew from more than 50 countries and regions. The vessel was put under quarantine at the port in Yokohama on Feb. 5 after a passenger who had disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected with the virus.