Taiwan bans cruise liners as coronavirus spreads

At least 20 passengers confirmed to have 2019-nCoV are aboard liner that anchored in Taiwan's Keelung port

Diamond Princess anchors off Yokohama, Tokyo.

Diamond Princess anchors off Yokohama, Tokyo. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — International cruise ships will be banned from docking in Taiwan due to novel coronavirus fears, said Taiwan’s health authorities on Thursday (Feb. 6).

The announcement came after 10 more passengers aboard the Diamond Princess tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus — in addition to 10 others confirmed ill with the virus on Wednesday (Feb. 5). The cruise liner has been quarantined and put on lockdown in waters off the port city of Yokohama, Tokyo.

The latest infections include a Taiwanese woman in her 60s, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The ship entered Taiwan on Jan. 31 when it anchored at the Port of Keelung with around 2,694 tourists aboard, some of whom likely visited popular tourist attractions in Taipei including the National Palace Museum and Longshan Temple, reported Liberty Times.

At least 112 liner visits will be canceled by the end of March, affecting approximately 144,000 passengers, said the Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC). A total of 1,738 passengers, including 1,709 Taiwanese aboard the SuperStar Aquarius, a cruise ship operated by Star Cruises, will be the first to be impacted by the measures, as the boat returns to the Port of Keelung on Friday (Feb. 7), according to CNA.