After testing negative for the coronavirus, and a short wait at shoreside facilities, some of the Diamond Princess passengers are finally disembarking.
It will take several days to get everyone off the ship, with passengers over 70 likely to be first to go.
The cruise ship has been in quarantine for 14 days, and in that time more than 500 people on board has tested positive for the virus.
In a message to departing passengers, captain Stefano Ravera thanked the passengers for their patience and resilience.
“Well, it goes without saying that after our extended journey together, we will be sad to see many of you go,” he said on Tuesday. “The strength and the togetherness that you have shown over the last few weeks has been incredible.”
Were safety measures satisfactory?: As the passengers begin to depart, questions are being raised over the Japanese government’s quarantine of the vessel.
A Japanese infectious disease specialist who visited the quarantined cruise ship alleged in a YouTube video that there was inadequate infection control onboard.
“Inside the Diamond Princess, I was was so scared … there was no way to tell where the virus was … bureaucrats were in charge of everything,” said Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease specialist at Kobe University in the video published Tuesday.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said Diamond Princess passengers will not be allowed back into the US for at least 14 days.
Read more here.