First two coronavirus deaths reported from Diamond Princess cruise ship

Two elderly passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship who contracted the new coronavirus have died, Japan's health ministry confirmed on Thursday. They are the first confirmed deaths among the more than 620 people on board the vessel who have tested positive for COVID-19.

One of the fatalities was an 87-year-old Japanese man and the other an 84-year-old Japanese woman, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

Both reportedly had underlying health issues. No other details of their sickness have been made public.

The Diamond Princess, which had about 3,700 passengers and crew on board, was quarantined for two weeks off the Japanese coast after a passenger who disembarked from the vessel in Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus. The infected vessel is the largest single cluster of COVID-19 cases outside China, the origin of the outbreak.

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Rising number of coronavirus cases on the Diamond Princess
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Rising number of coronavirus cases on the Diamond Princess
Journalists work near the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship sitting at the Yokohama Port Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, Yokohama, Japan. The operator of the ship said Monday that an additional 66 cases were found aboard. That is in addition to 70 reported earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
The quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess anchors at the Yokohama Port, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, Yokohama, Japan. Japan’s health ministry said Monday that about 60 more people on the quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for a new virus. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Officials with protective suites prepare work around the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess in the Yokohama Port Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, Yokohama, Japan. Japan’s health ministry said Monday that about 60 more people on the quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for a new virus. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Officials with protective suites walk from the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess in the Yokohama Port Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Japan. Japan’s health ministry said Monday that about 60 more people on the quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for a new virus. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Passengers stand on the balcony of the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored off the Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. China reported a rise in new virus cases on Monday, possibly denting optimism disease control measures that have isolated major cities might be working, while Japan reported dozens of new cases aboard the quarantined cruise ship. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Some banners are hang by passengers of the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored off the Yokohama Port Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. China reported a rise in new virus cases on Monday, possibly denting optimism disease control measures that have isolated major cities might be working, while Japan reported dozens of new cases aboard the quarantined cruise ship. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
An official with protective suites walks near the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored off the Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. China reported a rise in new virus cases on Monday, possibly denting optimism disease control measures that have isolated major cities might be working, while Japan reported dozens of new cases aboard the quarantined cruise ship. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Members of the Japan Self Defense Forces prepare the truck to connect with the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored off the Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. China reported a rise in new virus cases on Monday, possibly denting optimism disease control measures that have isolated major cities might be working, while Japan reported dozens of new cases aboard a quarantined cruise ship. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
The cruise ship Diamond Princess is anchored off the Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. China reported a rise in new virus cases on Monday, possibly denting optimism disease control measures that have isolated major cities might be working, while Japan reported dozens of new cases aboard a quarantined cruise ship. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
In this Feb. 9, 2020, photo, a passenger stands at the balcony of the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored off the Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Japan’s health ministry said Monday, Feb. 10 about 60 more people on the quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for a new virus. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Fire department members gather at the entrance of the cruise ship Diamond Princess which anchors off the Yokohama Port Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Japan on Saturday reported three more cases of the coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess for a total of 64. There are 3,700 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess who must remain on board for 14 days. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A passenger stands on the balcony of the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored at the Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Japan on Saturday reported three more cases of the coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess for a total of 64. There are 3,700 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess who must remain on board for 14 days. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A man with wearing a protective suit walks down levels of the qurantined cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored in the Yokohama Port Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, Yokohama, Japan. Japan on Saturday reported three more cases of the coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess for a total of 64. There are 3,700 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess who must remain on board for 14 days. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
The quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess is anchored in the Yokohama Port Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Japan on Saturday reported three more cases of the coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess for a total of 64 . There are 3,700 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess who must remain on board for 14 days. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Members of Japan Self Defense Forces walk into the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess in the Yokohama Port Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Yokohama, Japan. China's death toll from the new virus outbreak has risen to over 800, surpassing the number of fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, as other governments stepped up efforts to block the disease. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Passengers stand on balconies on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 10, 2020. - Around 60 more people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the country's national broadcaster said on February 10, raising the number of infected passengers and crew to around 130. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers stand on balconies on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 10, 2020. - Around 60 more people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the country's national broadcaster said on February 10, raising the number of infected passengers and crew to around 130. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers stand on balconies on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 10, 2020. - Around 60 more people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the country's national broadcaster said on February 10, raising the number of infected passengers and crew to around 130. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers stand on balconies on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 10, 2020. - Around 60 more people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the country's national broadcaster said on February 10, raising the number of infected passengers and crew to around 130. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
People wearing protective suits walk from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 10, 2020. - Around 60 more people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the country's national broadcaster said on February 10, raising the number of infected passengers and crew to around 130. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
An ambulance carrying passengers drives away from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 10, 2020. - Around 60 more people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the country's national broadcaster said on February 10, raising the number of infected passengers and crew to around 130. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
The Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, is seen anchored at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 10, 2020. - Around 60 more people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the country's national broadcaster said on February 10, raising the number of infected passengers and crew to around 130. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
The Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, is seen anchored at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 10, 2020. - Six more people on a cruise ship off Japan are found to have the new coronavirus, the government said February 9, bringing the number who have tested positive on board to 70. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
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On Wednesday, Japanese authorities — who have faced mounting criticism over their handling of the cruise ship crisis — began allowing passengers who tested negative for the virus and showed no symptoms to leave the ship.

Japanese passengers have been allowed to go home once cleared to disembark, Reuters reported. Citizens from other countries, including Canada, Australia and the U.S., have or will travel home on charter flights and be subjected to quarantines upon landing in their home nations.

More than 300 American passengers were flown back to the U.S. this week and were quarantined at air bases in California and Texas. Fourteen Americans who tested positive for the virus have been hospitalized.

More than 70,000 people globally have been infected with COVID-19 to date, mostly in China's Hubei province. More than 2,000 people have died.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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