Four Australians are among the 66 people diagnosed with coronavirus on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan, the country’s health ministry has confirmed.
It takes the number of total cases on the ship to 136, after officials previously said 70 of the 3711 passenters were infected.
It comes as Japan’s health minister Katsunobu Kato said his government was considering testing all of the crew and passengers before allowing them to disembark.
Five of the six new cases announced yesterday were crew assigned to restaurants, bars or housekeeping, according to Mr Kato.
Testing every person aboard would require them all to remain on the ship until results are available.
Japanese health authorities are scrambling to deliver medicine requested by more than 600 passengers.
“We are doing the utmost to keep everyone in good health,” Mr Kato said.
“We have to respond to the worries and concerns of the public.”
So far 336 potentially infected people on board the ship have been tested.
Passengers have previously described “floating prison”-like conditions as they were told they couldn’t even leave their cabins.
The cruise ship has the biggest known cluster of cases outside China.
Last week an image has emerged from the ship claiming, “medicine lacking”.
Other horrifying pictures surfaces from a number of other cruise ships also stranded.
One image emerged of a person being stretchered off a cruise ship stranded in Hong Kong after multiple passengers tested positive for the coronavirus.
At the time cruise giant Royal Caribbean also announced a ban on Chinese, Hong Kong and Macao passports holders.
Queensland couple Paul and Jacqui Fidrmuc are among those stuck on Diamond Princess and earlier told of how they were frightened, anxiously waiting out their 14-day quarantine period.
“It’s a frightening situation but it is not a disease where if you get it, it’s certain death,” Mr Fidrmuc said.
“You just have to be lighthearted about the whole situation. It’s a little bit daunting. But look, we can’t do anything … We are good strong healthy people and we’ve got good immune systems and fingers crossed that … we can fight it off.
“We feel for those in interior rooms with no window.”
Authorities said the Diamond Princess outbreak could be traced to an 80-year-old Hong Kong man who disembarked the ship last month.
Coronavirus first emerged in the city of Wuhan in China in December and has resulted in 910 deaths, making it more deadly than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic.
There are now a total of 40,553 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, including 15 infections in Australia. “
Of those infections, 6500 are severe, according to official data.