Cruise ship passengers from Singapore, Hong Kong remain in COVID-19 limbo

The Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Facebook
The Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Facebook

The misery continues for many passengers looking forward to life after cruise ship quarantine, including a group of Hong Kongers who must wait longer to return home and five Singaporeans told by the government to remain in Japan.

While the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship’s 3,000-plus passengers and crew try to get home, the official count of coronavirus infections has slowed around Asia with one notable exception – South Korea. Infections there have tripled in three days, with the bulk of them involving churchgoers. Seoul also reported the nation’s first death yesterday, which involved a 63-year-old man who posthumously tested positive for the virus.

Singapore reported its 85th infection yesterday in a 36-year-old Chinese man working in Singapore. He had not traveled to China recently. The government instructed five citizens who were in quarantine aboard  the Diamond Princess to remain in Japan two weeks before returning home.

COVID-19: Here’s every coronavirus infection in Singapore on a map

South Korea’s 52 new cases reported today brought its total infections to 156 since the outbreak began.Forty-one were in Daegu city, where 39 were linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Eighty people from the church, which is widely described as a cult, have now been infected.

More than 75,000 people have been infected in China, where at least 2,200 people have died of the disease. China reports that spread of the virus has slowed, but doubts have grown over its accounting after it has repeatedly changed its methodology.

Other updates from Coconuts newsrooms around the region:

Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong has announced four more cases since yesterday, bringing total infections to 69:

Case 66: A 75-year-old man, husband of the city’s 63rd confirmed patient and father-in-law of the 57th.

Case 67: A 38-year-old woman who lives in Sau Mau Ping and works as a cashier at a congee and noodle restaurant in Yau Tong.

Case 68: A 58-year-old taxi driver preliminarily tested positive for the virus after he fainted and was taken to North District Hospital.

Case 69: The first police officer to be infected. The 48-year-old man, who lives at Yau Mei Court in Yau Tong, was confirmed stricken with the virus at United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong.

  • The second batch of at least 100 Hong Kong residents due to leave the Diamond Princess cruise ship last night has been delayed as governments competed for airlift slots. Another 10 Hong Kong residents aboard the ship have also tested positive for the infection.


  • Two more COVID-19 patients were discharged from Malaysian hospitals yesterday. Both were Chinese nationals who tested positive Feb. 14 for the virus.
  • Malaysia has not announced new cases since Feb. 15.
  • Remaining five COVID-19 patients still receiving treatments at hospitals.


  • The government said today COVID-19 would be designated a “dangerous” disease and announced stringent measures that would be implemented if the situation deteriorates.
  • The three Thais infected with the virus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship were still being treated at a Japanese hospital.


  • A cargo vessel carrying 40 crew members has been quarantined off West Sulawesi since Tuesday over coronavirus fears.

The vessel was instructed to remain 1 kilometer from the Tanjung Bakau Port while a medical team is en route, The Jakarta Post reported.


  • The health department is investigating 12 new suspected cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of persons under investigation nationwide to 556. Of that number, 420 have been discharged as of Thursday.
  • Confirmed cases remain at three, including two recovered cases and one fatality. All cases are imported, and no local transmission has been reported so far.


Singapore’s first patient recovers as virus hits more churchgoers
Officials announce two more COVID-19 cases, total at 67
First batch of Hongkongers stranded on virus-struck cruise ship return home

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