Asia Today: Clusters among crew on 2 ships in Taiwan, Japan

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Kyodo News

In this April 21, 2020, photo, Italian-operated cruise ship the Costa Atlantica is anchored at a port in Nagasaki, southern Japan. Japanese officials said a few dozens of crew members on the cruise ship docked have tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, the day after a first case from the ship was reported. (Kyodo News via AP)

BANGKOK – Japanese officials said Wednesday that 33 crew members on a docked cruise ship tested positive for the coronavirus in one day of testing after the first case from the ship was reported.

The Italian-operated Costa Atlantica has been docked in Nagasaki since late January for repairs and maintenance by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. The ship carries 623 crew members, including a Japanese translator, but it was empty of passengers during the work.

The outbreak surfaced Tuesday when the first crew member, identified only as a foreign national, tested positive for the virus.

None of those infected had serious symptoms and all are isolated in single rooms on the ship, officials said.

Mitsubishi officials said no crew members had left the ship since mid-March. Before then, crew members had been allowed to come and go from ship to shore if they passed temperature checks and had not recently traveled to high-risk countries such as China and Italy.

Nagasaki officials are investigating how and where the crew members contracted the virus.

The outbreak on the ship adds to concerns about testing and hospital capacity in Nagasaki, where only 102 beds are available.

All of Japan is under a coronavirus state of emergency as cases rise in the world's oldest population and third-largest economy. Japan has about 11,500 cases of infection, with 280 deaths. Those numbers are separate from an earlier outbreak on another cruise ship carrying more than 3,700 passengers and crew, where 712 of them were infected.