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2 SA citizens on Japan cruise ship to return home after cleared of coronavirus

Of its 3,711 passengers and crew members on board the Diamond Princess, 705 were infected; among them were two South Africans.

Japanese military personnel set up a covered walkway next to the 'Diamond Princess' cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on 10 February 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The two South Africans who tested positive for Coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan are returning home after testing negative.

They were crew members on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined.

When the luxury cruise ship crew realised they had an infected passenger a month ago, it returned to its homeport in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

Of its 3,711 passengers and crew members on board, 705 were infected; among them were two South Africans.

Government communications said the two crew members had now tested negative.

Meanwhile, the number of South Africans who will be evacuated from the epicentre of the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan, China, has gone up to 184.

Over the weekend, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said it was still unclear how long a person continued to transmit the disease after they tested negative.

But he appealed to the public not to stigmatise those who will be cleared or evacuated from Wuhan.