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Woman on cruise ship becomes first Russian infected with coronavirus

Diamond Princess cruise ship (mstk east/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A Russian woman on board a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan has tested positive for the coronavirus, Russia’s Embassy in Tokyo said on February 17.

The woman is the first confirmed case among the 24 Russians on board the Diamond Princess. She is also thought to be the first Russian national to contract the coronavirus.

“A female citizen of Russia has tested positive for the coronavirus in the course of Covid-19 screening of all passengers by Japanese authorities. The Russian woman will soon be hospitalized in order to receive treatment,” the embassy tweeted.

“The Embassy will continue to provide comprehensive assistance to our citizens,” it added.

Two previous cases found in Russia — one in the Siberian city of Chita and one in the Tyumen region — were both Chinese nationals. They have both recovered and have been discharged from hospital.

The Diamond Princess departed from Yokohama on January 20 with 2,666 tourists and 1,045 crew members on board for a two-week cruise to Kagoshima, Hong Kong, and Okinawa.

The cruise was supposed to end on February 4. But one of the passengers who disembarked in Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus and the cruise ship was quarantined in Yokohama for 14 days.

In St. Petersburg, a court on February 17 ordered a Russian woman who escaped from a virus quarantine to be forcibly returned back to the hospital she fled.

Alla Ilyina, 32, escaped from the facility last week, saying she had tested negative for the virus but was told to remain quarantined for two weeks.

Ilyina returned from China last month. Doctors diagnosed her with “acute virus illness” that they suspected could be the new coronavirus.

More than 70,500 people have been infected by the COVID-19 across China, with the death toll in the country reaching 1,770.

There have been more than 500 cases in nearly 30 other countries and territories. Four people died in France, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Japan.