“The South African government has been made aware by Japanese authorities through the South African embassy in Tokyo, that there were 12 South African crew members working on board the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship when it was affected by Covid-19.
“On 25 February 2020, we were informed by the Japanese authorities that two of these South Africans tested positive for Covid-19. They are currently being treated in Japan and the latest reports indicate that they are currently asymptomatic,” the ministry said in a statement.
“At this stage, it is most appropriate that the Covid-19 confirmed South African citizens should be treated in Japan until they are fully recovered from the virus and are no longer contagious before they travel further.
“For the remaining 10, they will be permitted to disembark the ship as per the instructions of their employer after they test negative for coronavirus, be subjected to a further 14-day quarantine in Japan, then further tested thereafter to determine if they may be cleared for travel.
“South Africa will continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain contact with the government of Japan in order to keep the public informed.”
The cruise ship arrived in the Japanese Port of Yokohama with 3 700 people on board. On February 1, it was announced that a patient who had disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25 had tested positive for the coronavirus.
This led to a quarantine period on board the ship that ended on February 19. It was only at then that the South African government was informed of the situation.