Coronavirus: Two passengers on Diamond Princess Cruise ship dead - report

Two passengers on the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship have died, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reports.

The passengers were a man and a woman in their 80s, NHK said, citing an unidentified government source.

About 14 percent of passengers and crew oboard the ship, which has been in quarantine off the coast of Japan for two weeks, were believed to be ill.

Earlier on Thursday, two New Zealanders leaving the cruise ship tested positive for the virus, known officially as COVID-19. In total, 13 Kiwis were on board the ship.

The pair were among eight New Zealanders who agreed to take a chartered evacuation flight to Darwin, offered by the Australian government.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told The AM Show on Wednesday the passengers would be checked for the virus before boarding the flight, which left Tokyo at 5am (NZ time).

The six who boarded the evacuation flight to Darwin on Thursday morning will be taken back to New Zealand by a paramedic, Dr Bloomfield said. They will remain in isolation for 14 days at the Whangaparaoa military facility. 


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