Japan faced growing questions about whether it was doing enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said it would cancel or postpone major indoor events it has sponsored for the next three weeks. More than 400 Japanese and foreign passengers were set to disembark from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship near Tokyo after weeks aboard in quarantine, despite reports of new cases coming in from around Japan.
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Meanwhile, two Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus on their return home, despite being cleared in Japan, authorities said Friday. "We have two people who are positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those two people have mild illness," said Dianne Stephens, acting chief health officer for the Northern Territories.
Health officials in Canberra told AFP all 164 Australians who returned home earlier this week "were tested for COVID-19 in Japan and returned negative results".
A total of six Australian evacuees have now been retested and the two -- described as "an older person" and "a younger person" -- tested positive.
The Australian officials stressed that the development of some positive cases among cleared evacuees was "not unexpected", given the continued spread of the disease onboard after testing began.
Hundreds of people have been allowed to leave the ship after being cleared of having the virus, and many have returned to their home countries to face further quarantine.
Hundreds more Japanese passengers were also cleared and warned only to "stay at home unless absolutely necessary," to "never use public" transport and use a mask if they do venture out.
An eruption of new virus cases in South Korea, Iran and Chinese hospitals and prisons rekindled concerns Friday about the spread of a deadly disease that has killed more than 2,200 people.
The World Health Organization warned nations they could face a serious problem if they fail to "hit hard now" against the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 75,000 in China and over 1,100 abroad.
China pointed to official numbers showing a drop in new cases this week as evidence that its drastic containment measures are working, but fresh cases emerged at two Beijing hospitals and more than 200 other cases in two prisons.
Meanwhile, in Odisha, the residents of Bhadrak district expressed concern that the crew members of the two Hong Kong ships that anchored at the Dhamra Port two days ago might have been exposed to the deadly coronavirus.
Assuaging their concern, Bhadrak Additional District Magistrate Shyambhakt Mishra said the crew had undergone screening for the virus and there was no reason to panic. "I have also spoken to Dhamra Port Company Ltd (DPCL) authorities on the matter," he said.
The port authorities made it clear that the crew members will not be allowed to disembark from the ship as they do not have immigration passes. They said the ship will leave the port after loading shipment.
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11 Mar, 2020 | Zimbabwe in Bangladesh 2 T20I Series ZIM vs BAN 119/720.0 overs 120/115.5 oversBangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 9 wickets
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09 Mar, 2020 | Zimbabwe in Bangladesh 2 T20I Series BAN vs ZIM 200/320.0 overs 152/1019.0 oversBangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 48 runs
08 Mar, 2020 | Afghanistan and Ireland in India AFG vs IRE 184/420.0 overs 163/620.0 oversAfghanistan beat Ireland by 21 runs