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2 elderly passengers of virus-hit ship die: Japan gov't source

20 February 2020 11:07

TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Two elderly passengers from the Diamond Princess, a coronavirus-hit cruise ship docked in Yokohama, have died, a Japanese government source said Thursday.

According to Kyodo, the two were a man and woman in their 80s, the source said. The confirmed death toll in Japan has risen to three.

The reports of the two deaths came as passengers from the ship continued to disembark after a quarantine period and more events have been canceled because of concerns about the new coronavirus.

«We must put our top priority on (ensuring) the health of athletes and spectators,» said the organizer of the Special Olympics for intellectual disabled people earlier in the week in calling off the event that had been scheduled to begin Friday in Hokkaido.

The government is expected to issue guidelines shortly on holding events such as marathons and concerts.

On Monday, organizers of the Tokyo Marathon said they will allow only some 200 elite athletes, including wheelchair racers, to take part in the upcoming pre-Olympic event. Roughly 38,000 people who had been scheduled to compete on March 1 in the «general entry» category were excluded.

Also on Monday, the Imperial Household Agency said it has canceled a birthday event for Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace scheduled on the weekend.

Other events scrapped following the virus outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan include cultural exchanges between Japan and China

On Thursday, a second group of around 500 passengers is disembarking from the Diamond Princess, following the 443 who left the ship Wednesday after a two-week quarantine period. The passengers have tested negative for the pneumonia-causing virus.

A third group from among the remaining 2,000 or so passengers still on board is expected to disembark Friday, while those who have had close contact with confirmed cases are being required to stay aboard longer until they are found not to be infected with the virus.

The cruise ship was initially carrying around 3,700 passengers and crew from more than 50 countries and regions. The number of cases confirmed onboard has increased day by day, reaching more than 600 on Wednesday.

Keywords: Incidents , World News,