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Govt working to repatriate Italians aboard Japan cruise liner - minister

17 febbraio 2020 | 16.24
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Photo: AFP

Italy is working to fly home dozens of its citizens quarantined aboard a coronavirus-hit cruise ship off Japan, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said on Monday.

"We are organising to send an Italian air force Boeing plane to Japan to collect the (35) Italians currently on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored in Yokohama's port," Di Maio told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union ministerial summit in Brussels.

There were 99 new cases of coronavirus infections aboard the Diamond Princess, bringing the total to 454 confirmed cases, Japanese officials said on Monday.

One of the cases is an Italian man - the first Italian to be infected on the ship, foreign ministry crisis unit head Stefano Verrecchia told Italy's state broadcaster Rai on Monday.

Some of the Italians on the Diamond Princess are "essential" crew members who may remain in post when their compatriots are evacuated, Verrecchia said. The more than 3,000 passengers and crew were quarantined aboard the ship on 5 February.

 The Diamond Princess largest cluster of cases outside China amid an outbreak that has killed 1,770 people in China and five elsewhere since mid-December.

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