COVID-19: Last crew members leave quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship

The last group of about 130 crew members got off the Diamond Princess on Sunday, vacating the contaminated cruise ship and ending Japan‘s much criticized quarantine that left more than one fifth of the ship’s original population infected with the new virus.

Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference that the ship is now empty and ready for sterilization and safety checks to prepare for its next voyage. He did not give a timeline.

The British-flagged and U.S.-operated Diamond Princess had carried an infected passenger part way before returning to its home port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on Feb. 3. Of the 3,711 passengers and crew members on board, 705 were infected on the ship, triggering international criticism of the quarantine and Japan’s disease control capability.

Kato said the government would investigate the handling of the cruise ship. “We should investigate the case so that we will not expand infections again,” he said.

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