The Australian government said Friday that two of the roughly 160 people evacuated to Australia from a virus-stricken cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The two are among the Diamond Princess passengers who arrived in Darwin, northern Australia, on a chartered plane on Thursday to begin a 14-day quarantine period.
Australia's chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said all Australians -- including the two individuals -- were tested for the virus prior to leaving Japan, with no one returning positive results or showing any symptoms of the disease.
Upon arrival in Australia, six people showed minor respiratory symptoms and were isolated. All were re-tested, with two people returning positive results.
"Given there was continued evidence of spread of infection on board the Diamond Princess in recent days, the development of some positive cases after return to Australia is not unexpected, despite all of the health screening before departure," Murphy said in a statement.
In total there have been 17 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Australia, including the latest arrivals from the cruise ship.
(The Diamond Princess, Feb. 20, 2020)