WUHAN VIRUS/Passengers, crew aboard SuperStar cruise liner tested for Wuhan virus

Taipei, CNA (CNA) Passengers and crew aboard the SuperStar Aquarius cruise liner were examined for the novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV) Saturday, hours after the ship docked in Keelung Harbor, with the results expected later in the day, according to officials.

Over 2,400 passengers and crew members on the international cruise liner had their temperatures taken and 128 of them, including one with a travel history to the Chinese city of Wuhan, had their samples taken for further tests, Vice Premier Chen Chi mai (???) and Health Minister Chen Shih chung (???) announced at a press conference.

The results of the tests are expected to be known around 9 p.m. Saturday, Chen said.

The passengers will be allowed to disembark and conduct self quarantine at home for 14 days if the high risk group of passengers all test negative for coronavirus, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

However, if any passenger is found to be carrying the deadly virus, the whole ship will be quarantined and isolated, it said.

The 128 passengers who required further testing had either visited China in the past 30 days, had an unclear recent travel history, or are foreign nationals.

The SuperStar Aquarius was allowed to enter Keelung Harbor despite a government ban on all international cruise liners, because more than 90 percent of its 1,738 passengers are Taiwanese nationals.

In addition, the ship has over 700 crew members, 237 of whom are Chinese, while the rest are from Southeast Asian, South Asian and European countries.

In an earlier press conference, the CECC urged the public to remain calm amid panic that passengers of another cruise liner, the Diamond Princess, visited tourist spots such as the Taipei 101 skyscraper and the capital’s Ximending shopping district in late January.

The Diamond Princess is currently under 14 day quarantine outside Yokohama Harbor in Japan after 64 of its passengers tested positive for the virus. The ship made an 11 hour stopover at Taiwan’s Keelung Harbor Jan. 31.

The novel coronavirus is mainly transmitted through droplets and it is very unlikely for people to contract it in an open space, Chou Jih haw (???), director general of Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said Saturday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel