In a statement, Princess Cruises said it was “not unexpected” that additional cases would be reported involving individuals who were exposed prior to the start of the quarantine.
Princess Cruises said the quarantine end date remained at February 19 unless there were unforeseen developments.
Passengers have voiced their distress about their wait on the ship, with some flying banners from the ship’s balconies calling for help.
In a tweet on Monday, the World Health Organisation said the quarantine period could be extended beyond February 19 for close contacts of newly confirmed cases who might need to remain in quarantine for two weeks after their close contacts had been diagnosed.
Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the Japanese government was considering testing all 3,711 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess, which would require them to remain aboard until results were available. Health authorities are scrambling to deliver medicine requested by more than 600 passengers.
“We are doing the utmost to keep everyone in good health,” Kato said.
A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said the department was urgently seeking advice from Japanese authorities on new cases among Australians on the ship.
None of the 266 people in quarantine in Darwin after being evacuated from the coronavirus centre of the outbreak in China have shown any signs of the respiratory infection, medical authorities say.
Five of the 15 confirmed Australian cases of coronavirus had been cleared, according to health authorities, as it reassured those living near the Darwin evacuation centre that they were not at risk.
The WHO declared the outbreak a global emergency on January 30, days after the Chinese central government imposed a lockdown on 60 million people in Hubei province.
The coronavirus outbreak has now killed more people than the SARS epidemic did globally in 2002/2003.
The virus has also spread to at least 27 countries and territories, according to a Reuters count based on official reports, infecting more than 330 people. Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China – both of Chinese nationals.
Paul is a reporter for The Age.