Eleven elderly passengers aged 80 years or older with chronic diseases on Friday got off the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined at the port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, due to a group infection with the new coronavirus.
According to the health ministry, elderly passengers staying in rooms without windows are also allowed to leave the ship.
The ministry decided to allow such passengers to get off the ship if they test negative for the virus, out of concerns that prolonged stays could cause them health problems.
Passengers disembarking from the ship are being asked to stay at a government-affiliated institution in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, until the estimated incubation period for the virus ends.
The ministry is also considering allowing passengers in their 80s without chronic diseases and those in their 70s to get off the ship.
The ship arrived in waters off Daikoku Pier at the port on the night of Feb. 3. Some 3,400 passengers and crew members remain onboard, for a 14-day quarantine through Wednesday next week.