‘Small number’ of Irish on board two coronavirus-hit cruise ships

By Michael McHugh, PA

A small number of Irish people are on board two cruise ships where coronavirus has been detected, the Irish government said.

Minister Simon Coveney said his Department of Foreign Affairs was in contact with citizens on the Diamond Princess in Japan and the Westerdam off Cambodia.

He told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “It’s a small number though, and we’re dealing with each individual case.

“There is a second cruise ship off Cambodia, we’re working with Irish nationals on both of those ships to make sure they’re safe.

“And if they’re in quarantine, to make sure those conditions are safe.”

(PA Graphics)

Hundreds of people in China have died from the infection, known as Covid-19, which has struck down thousands.

The department said it could not comment on individual cases.

In a statement, it added: “We are closely following the events concerning the Diamond Princess and we are in contact with the Irish citizens concerned.

“We are continuing to liaise closely with like-minded countries, EU partners and the health authorities in Japan and here in Ireland concerning the best course of action.”

Hundreds of people have tested positive for the virus on board the quarantined Diamond Princess.