Traces of Covid-19 were found in cabins on the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess up to 17 days after passengers left, research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Hundreds of people became infected when the cruise ship was quarantined in Japan last month.
The study said that coronavirus “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted”.
It added the data “cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces”.
The report also warned people should not go on cruises during the coronavirus crisis.
It said: “Outbreaks of COVID-19 on cruise ships pose a risk for rapid spread of disease beyond the voyage. Aggressive efforts are required to contain spread.
“All persons should defer all cruise travel worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It comes as there have been 377,300 coronavirus cases around the world, with the death toll at 16,520.
In the UK, 6,650 people have been infected and 335 have died.
Boris Johnson put Britain on lockdown last night as he ordered draconian new measures in a bid to stop the spread of the illness.
The Prime Minister banned public gatherings of more than two people, detailed a short list of reasons why individuals can leave their homes and shut down shops selling non-essential items.
And Mr Johnson threatened police fines for anyone who ignores the strict measures.
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People can go out to shop for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible”, for medical reasons, and to exercise once a day.
They can also provide care to a vulnerable person or travel to work if “absolutely necessary”, the Prime Minister said.
He added: “That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.
“You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no.
“You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”
Mr Johnson said the measures will be “under constant review” but were needed to slow the spread of the disease.
He added: “To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.”
The Prime Minister had been under mounting pressure to bring in tougher restrictions amid claims people were ignoring social distancing advice.
Meanwhile, emergency legislation to combat the outbreak cleared the House of Commons when MPs chose not to oppose the third reading of the Coronavirus Bill.
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