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41 passengers have tested positive for the coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, bringing the total number of cases to 61.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said that 41 out of 171 new test results have been confirmed to be positive. Up until now, the testing has been completed for 273 people.

This week, 10 cases were confirmed during the first round of testing on the ship.

On 4 February, Japanese health authorities quarantined the cruise ship for 14 days at Yokohama, Japan, after a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong, China.

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The ministry said that those infected include foreign nationals and elderly people and has requested the press to ‘give special consideration to coverage of this matter’.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said: “As they were staying together for a prolonged period in a closed environment, their contact was repeated.

“Our top priority is to check the health of passengers and crew of the cruise ship and take thorough measures to prevent infections.”

Operated by Carnival Japan, the ship was on a 14-day round cruise trip to Japan. The Diamond Princess ship had 1,045 crew and 2,666 passengers on board.

The epidemic began in Wuhan, China, and has so far killed 638 and infected 31,428 people in 28 countries, including China.

Japan has announced 86 confirmed cases, including 61 patients on the ship, with no deaths so far. Japan has also reported one recovered case.