The first hundreds of passengers who tested negative for the new coronavirus have begun leaving a ship moored off Japan, after 14 days of quarantine.
At least 542 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess have been infected by the Covid-19 virus the biggest cluster outside mainland China.
Several nations are evacuating their citizens from the ship as infections continue to rise.
On Sunday, February 16, 2020, the US removed hundreds of its citizens from the ship and placed them in quarantine. The UK said it hopes to fly 74 British Nationals on the Diamond Princess back later this week.
A British couple on the ship who had been giving regular updates to journalists and via social media, confirmed on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 that they had tested positive for the virus.
The US, Canada, Australia and the UK will place all those released from the ship in another 14 days quarantine when they return home.
Covid-19 has now claimed 2,004 lives in China, according to the latest Chinese data released on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.
There have been 74,185 confirmed infections recorded in mainland China and about 700 cases in other countries.
Hong Kong on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 said a 70-year-old man with underlying illnesses became the territory’s second fatality.
France, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan have each had one death attributed to the virus.
About 500 people who tested negative and who are not showing any symptoms are expected to disembark the Diamond Princess at the port in Yokohama on Wednesday, with more leaving in coming days.
The ship was carrying 3,700 people in total.