A quarantine officer who conducted virus tests for passengers and crew members on a cruise liner off Japan has been found infected with the new coronavirus, the health ministry said Wednesday.
It is the first time that a quarantine officer in Japan has been confirmed infected with the virus originating in China.
The officer, a male worker at the Yokohama Quarantine Station in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, has been hospitalized, and those with close contact with him, including his family members, have been instructed to refrain from going outside, according to the ministry.
According to the ministry, the infected officer was responsible for measuring body temperatures of the Diamond Princess passengers and collecting questionnaires from them from the night of Feb. 3 through the night of Feb. 4.
The officer was wearing a face mask and gloves during the operation. When he worked outside the ship between Feb. 5 and Friday, he took off his face mask on some occasions. He developed fever on Sunday and visited a medical institution on Monday.
The officer is unlikely to have spread infection among passengers as he took necessary preventive measures, such as wearing a face mask, and worked outside the ship from Feb. 5, the ministry said.