A cruise ship that was turned away from Japan this week over coronavirus fears returned to Taiwan on Saturday, with everyone on board testing negative for the illness.

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung boarded the Super Star Aquarius as soon as it docked at the northern port city of Keelung around noon, leading a team of medical staff to perform health screening of the 1,738 passengers and 776 crew.

In the evening, authorities announced that the tests showed that no one had the coronavirus.

According to the ship and media reports, 41 of the guests had recently travelled to China, where the virus is spreading.

Chen told a press conference before boarding the ship that all passengers could go home later in the day and self-monitor their health condition afterwards provided no one tested positive for the virus.

(File photo shows people on a bus in Taipei wear masks to protect themself from the coronavirus.)

The ship, which left Keelung on Tuesday for a four-day round-trip cruise, was denied permission to dock in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

Although Taiwan on Thursday implemented its own ban on cruise ships from calling in the island's ports, Chen indicated Friday that an exception was made for the vessel due to the high proportion of Taiwanese passengers.

Also Saturday, the Central Epidemic Center announced one more confirmed case, bringing Taiwan's total to 17.

The new case is a man in his 20s who traveled with his parents to Italy via Hong Kong between January and February.

On Thursday Taiwan imposed a blanket ban on Chinese travelers entering from the mainland.

In mainland China, the death toll from the new-coronavirus outbreak has risen to 722, with more than 34,500 people infected, the Chinese health authorities said Saturday.

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