SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) — The South Korean government said Sunday that it is considering repatriating its nationals aboard a quarantined cruise ship moored off the coast of Japan.
Since the Diamond Princess was quarantined at Yokohama Port earlier this month after confirming an infection of COVID-19, 14 Koreans — nine passengers and five crew members — have remained inside the ship.
The Japanese government announced a plan to release passengers who test negative for the contagious virus from Wednesday.
“Even before Feb. 19, we will go on with plans to bring back our nationals who test negative and want to come to South Korea,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said in a briefing. “We will first check their intention and cooperate with the Japanese government.”
He said the Seoul government will give full support to all Korean passport holders on board even if they do not want to return to Korea.
Currently about 3,400 people from more than 50 countries are aboard the ship, with hundreds of former passengers having disembarked due largely to old age or infection with the novel virus. (ia/SOVEREIGNPH.COM/Yonhap)