Two passengers with coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have died, according to Japanese news reports. Picture: Yuta Omori/Kyodo News via AP
Two passengers with coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have died, according to Japanese news reports. Picture: Yuta Omori/Kyodo News via AP

Two cruise passengers die from virus

Two passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have died after contracting coronavirus, according to Japanese news reports.

The man and the woman were both aged in their 80s, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported, citing government sources.

They both had underlying health conditions and were taken off the ship on February 11 and 12 before being treated in hospital.

These are the first deaths associated with the coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess, which has seen the largest cluster of virus cases outside mainland China.

The ship has just finished two weeks locked down in quarantine off the Japanese port of Yokohama, near Tokyo.

The number of confirmed cases among passengers and crew soared again overnight and now stands at more than 620, including 47 Australian passengers.

The deaths come as about 180 Australian passengers from the Diamond Princess were evacuated from Tokyo overnight.

The Qantas flight arrived this morning in Darwin, where passengers will spend another 14 days in isolation.

Qantas flight 6032 touched down in Darwin at 8.11am local time, after being slightly delayed from takeoff out of Haneda.

Last-minute drama hit the rescue mission when 10 Australians, who were set to leave the ship and head to the airport, were told they had tested positive to coronavirus and had to stay behind.

About 15 Australians elected to stay behind with loved ones who were being treated for the virus.

Earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the government was offering consular assistance to 47 Australians in Japan who tested positive to coronavirus.

There had been about 3700 people on the luxury Diamond Princess when it docked at Yokohama on February 4 after a two-week journey around Southeast Asia.

The ship was put in lockdown when it emerged a previous passenger, who had left the ship during a stop in Hong Kong, had tested positive for the virus.

There are now over 75,000 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, with 74,185 cases and 2112 deaths in mainland China.

More to come



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