The coronavirus lasts for up to 17 days on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, far longer than previous research has shown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
According to new data published Monday the virus “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted. These data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces,” the researchers wrote.
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On January 20, 2020, the Carnival-owned Diamond Princess cruise ship departed Yokohama, Japan, carrying approximately 3,700 passengers and crew.
The CDC, UCLA and Princeton University researchers previously found that the virus can survive up to three days on plastic and stainless steel until decreased over time.
The research described the situation:
On January 25, a symptomatic passenger departed the ship in Hong Kong, where he was evaluated; testing confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.
On February 3, the ship returned to Japan, after making six stops in three countries.
Japanese authorities were notified of the COVID-19 diagnosis in the passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong, and the ship was quarantined. Information about social distancing and monitoring of symptoms was communicated to passengers.
On February 5, passengers were quarantined in their cabins; crew continued to work and, therefore, could not be isolated in their cabins. Initially, travelers with fever or respiratory symptoms and their close contacts were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). All those with positive test results were disembarked and hospitalized.
Among 3,711 Diamond Princess passengers and crew, 712 (19.2%) had positive test results.
Of these, 331 (46.5%) were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Among 381 symptomatic patients, 37 (9.7%) required intensive care, and nine (1.3%) died.
Infections also occurred among three Japanese responders.
Another ship, Grand Princess, sailed from San Francisco, California, making four stops in Mexico, was forced to moor after two patients tested positive out of a total of 78 cases, in two separate voyages. The passengers get off the ship and transported to federal quarantine facilities.
The Diamond Princess and Grand Princess accounted for more than 800 total COVID-19 cases, including 10 deaths.