Hundreds of passengers began disembarking from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan.
Passengers began disembarking on Wednesday from a cruise ship docked off Yokohama, Japan, as a two-week quarantine of the vessel was coming to an end even as a major coronavirus outbreak on board continued unabated.
An initial group of about 500 people were to leave the boat on the first day of what the Japanese authorities have said will be a three-day operation to offload those who have tested negative for the virus and do not have symptoms. Passengers who shared cabins with infected patients have been ordered to remain on the ship.
Several countries have arranged charter flights to take their nationals home after they leave the boat. Most if not all of these passengers face an additional two-week quarantine in their home countries.
The disembarkation is taking place even as at least 542 passengers aboard the ship, the Diamond Princess, have been infected with the virus. On Tuesday, the authorities announced an additional 88 cases on the ship, which originally carried about 3,700 passengers and crew members.
More than half of all the recorded cases outside China, the center of the epidemic, have been aboard the ship.
Many of the infected had already been removed from the ship and taken to nearby hospitals. More than 300 Americans, at least 14 of whom were infected, had also been taken off the boat earlier this week and placed in a 14-day quarantine at military bases in the United States.
But more than 100 Americans who were not evacuated on chartered flights cannot return home for at least two more weeks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
The agency said in a statement that virus containment measures on the ship “may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission.”
“C.D.C. believes the rate of new infections on board, especially among those without symptoms, represents an ongoing risk,” it added.
Passengers will not be allowed to return to the United States until they have been off the ship for 14 days, without any symptoms or a positive test for the virus, the agency said. The decision applies to those who have tested positive and are hospitalized in Japan, and to those who are still aboard the ship.
New cases in China appear to be slowing.
On Wednesday, the number of confirmed new cases in mainland China appeared again to be slowing, and was put at 1,749. That brought the country’s total number of reported infections to 74,185. Deaths in the previous 24 hours were put at 136, bringing the total in the mainland to 2,004.
The economic pain from the epidemic is continuing to spread.
Economic fallout from the epidemic continued to spread on Tuesday, with new evidence emerging in manufacturing, financial markets, commodities, banking and other sectors.
HSBC, one of the most important banks in Hong Kong, said it planned to cut 35,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in costs as it faces headwinds that include the outbreak and months of political strife in Hong Kong. The bank, based in London, has come to depend increasingly on China for growth.
Jaguar Land Rover warned that the coronavirus could soon begin to create production problems at its assembly plants in Britain. Like many carmakers, Jaguar Land Rover uses parts made in China, where many factories have shut down or slowed production; Fiat Chrysler, Renault and Hyundai have already reported interruptions as a result.
U.S. stocks declined on Tuesday, a day after Apple warned that it would miss its sales forecasts because of the disruption in China. Stocks tied to the near-term ups and downs of the economy slumped, with financials, energy and industrial shares the leading losers.
The S&P 500 index fell 0.3 percent. Bond yields declined, with the 10-year Treasury note yielding 1.56 percent, suggesting that investors are lowering their expectations for economic growth and inflation.
With much of the Chinese economy stalled, demand for oil has fallen and prices were down on Tuesday, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate selling for roughly $52.
In Germany, where the economy depends heavily on global demand for machinery and automobiles, a key indicator showed economic sentiment has tumbled this month, as the economic outlook has weakened.
Reporting and research was contributed by Motoko Rich and Alexandra Stevenson.