106 HK residents safely returned

February 20, 2020

A total of 106 Hong Kong residents from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arrived safely in Hong Kong from Tokyo this morning on a chartered flight arranged by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.


The first batch of evacuees includes six people who were permitted to leave Japan after they completed quarantine at a facility in Saitama Prefecture.


Department of Health’s port health officers briefed them about quarantine arrangements and checked their body temperature before they deplaned.


All passengers were taken to the quarantine centre in Chun Yeung Estate by pre-arranged coaches to undergo 14-day quarantine observation.


The Hong Kong SAR Government explained that people who have been arranged to stay at quarantine centres, including passengers returning from Japan, have no coronavirus symptoms and are neither confirmed nor suspected infected patients.


The quarantine centre will operate on the mode of independent accommodation with security and healthcare staff on duty around the clock.


Transport services to and from the centre will be provided to people under quarantine who cannot leave and move around in the community without a health officer's written permission.


A total of 364 Hong Kong residents were originally on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, including 260 HKSAR passport holders and around 100 foreign passport holders.


As of February 19, a total of 55 Hong Kong residents from the ship were confirmed as being infected with the novel coronavirus and must stay in Japan for medical treatment.


Another 33, who are close contacts of the confirmed cases, have been put under quarantine for an extended period and are unable to return to Hong Kong for the time being.


Immigration officers will stay in Japan to provide assistance to these Hong Kong residents.


A task force of the SAR Government will continue to maintain close liaison with Japanese authorities and the cruise operator, and will confirm the list of remaining Hong Kong residents and their test results.


They aim to evacuate all Hong Kong residents permitted to leave the cruise ship today. A third chartered flight will be arranged for those remaining tomorrow.


Any individual who chooses not to take the chartered flight will be referred to the Port Health Division for assessment immediately upon returning to Hong Kong and will still be subject to a maximum of 14 days' quarantine.


The SAR Government expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Chinese Embassy in Japan and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the HKSAR for their assistance and liaison work with the Japanese government.


It also thanked the Japanese authority's active facilitation that enabled this mission to take place smoothly.

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