Two passengers on the coronavirus-stricken cruise docked in Japan have died, the country’s state-owned broadcaster reported Thursday.
The passengers were an 87-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman, according to NHK. These are the first fatalities from the Diamond Princess, which recorded over 600 infections, the largest number outside of the outbreak in China.
Of the 3,645 passengers and crew onboard, 621 were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, meaning that about one in six on the ship have tested positive.
The vessel, moored at the port in Yokohama, allowed passengers to start evacuating Wednesday after a heavily criticized, two-week quarantine failed to stop the spread of the deadly disease formally known as COVID-19.
About 500 passengers have reportedly already left, picked up by charter flights arranged by their home countries. The U.S., Australia and Hong Kong are among the governments that have repatriated their citizens, who are now facing a second, 14-day quarantine in their countries.
After the passengers depart, the 1,000-some crew members are expected to move into the guest rooms and begin their own quarantine.
Including the cases on the cruise, Japan has over half of the known infections outside China, where 75,725 people have been diagnosed and more than 2,100 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s virus tracker.
Off the ship, Japan has 84 confirmed coronavirus cases. The rapid spread of the disease, and concern about local transmission, has prompted criticism of the government’s response as the country gears up to host the Summer Olympics.
Last week, Japan recorded its first fatality—a woman in her 80s who had been hospitalized since Feb. 1, AP reported. Her diagnosis with coronavirus came after her death, according to the country’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato.