Aussie passenger fears on coronavirus cruise ship

ANOTHER 10 people onboard a cruise ship off the coast of Japan, have tested positive for coronavirus, as hundreds of Australian passengers onboard face two weeks in quarantine.

More than 2600 passengers are isolated in their rooms on the Diamond Princess, as 20 people, including two Australians, have been taken to Japanese hospitals after being diagnosed with the new virus. About 1000 crew members are also onboard.

The 20 confirmed cases include people from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines.

The virus has infected more than 28,000 and killed more than 550 people since it was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

A Brisbane couple in quarantine onboard the ship yesterday praised the captain and crew for their efforts as they face almost a month away from home.

The man, who asked not to be named, just finished a 14-day cruise from Japan with his wife.

"The biggest concern we have is ... we're in a situation where we're confined to an area that's known to have it and we could contract it," he said. "I'd rather be on a plane going home rather than sitting around waiting to get it.

"I certainly don't want to go home and spread something but I'd rather be home in quarantine than be here in quarantine … it's a long time.

"Not knowing when we're going to be flying home is a concern. The way it's going chances are more people will come down with it."

The couple said they were fortunate to have a balcony that allowed them to get some fresh air.

"The captain and the crew have been wonderful and they're doing the best they can with the circumstances," he said.

"We're lucky, we've done a bit of cruising and we thought this cruise we'd get a balcony to see what it's like and we're pretty lucky we did because we can get out and have a bit of sun and fresh air and look around.

"I pity the poor people inside that just don't have that luxury."

It comes as a crew member on an international coal carrier, anchored off Gladstone, was also tested for the Wuhan coronavirus, with results expected today.

The bulk carrier Ultra Bellambi was in China last month, causing concerns the man may have the virus after he displayed flu-like symptoms.



A Queensland Health nurse was flown to the ship by helicopter to assess the man and take swabs on Wednesday afternoon.

Four people in Queensland, and 14 in Australia, have tested positive to the novel coronavirus so far.

All four Queensland cases were part of a Chinese tour group.

The entire group of nine members have been in isolation in the Gold Coast University Hospital since January 29.