Princess Cruises’ chief medical officer has pledged that the line will “do everything” to keep Diamond Princess’ passengers safe from coronavirus as the ship enters the final week of its quarantine in Yokohama, Japan.

In a video message, Dr Grant Tarling called the situation both “challenging” and “extraordinary”, adding that passengers aged over 80, children aged six and under and those with pre-existing medical conditions were at higher risk of developing more serious illness.

His messages come a day after the line confirmed that Japanese health officials are planning a voluntary disembarkation with the most medically vulnerable guests given priority.

He said: “I am speaking to you today to let you know how much we appreciate your patience as we work through this extraordinary situation together.

“This is a new virus to humans that was only identified about six weeks ago. Being so new, global health agencies are urgently developing tactics to understand the illness and control it’s spread.

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“Health authorities expected additional cases to be identified given the original case likely exposed others and their close contacts between January 20 and February 4.

“The Japan Ministry of Health has determined that in addition to those with symptoms, special considerations may be needed for individuals at higher risk of developing more serious illnesses and this group includes individuals over 80 years old, children less than six years old and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

“The best way to stay healthy is to follow the recommendations of the ministry of health which is supported by other global health organisations. These measures include: remaining in your room until the quarantine has been lifted and if leaving your room, please wear your mask.”

He also added: “We promise to continue to support our guests and our team to the best of our abilities during this challenging situation. We will do everything we can to keep you safe as we go through this journey together.”

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