scorecardHow the 'failed' quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship started with 10 coronavirus cases and ended with more than 630
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How the 'failed' quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship started with 10 coronavirus cases and ended with more than 630

Morgan McFall-Johnsen   

How the 'failed' quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship started with 10 coronavirus cases and ended with more than 630
LifeScience2 min read
Workers in protective gear assist a passenger in a face mask after she leaves the coronavirus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan February 21, 2020.    Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship got their first piece of bad news on February 4: Ten people onboard had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

It was the beginning of a two-week ordeal of quarantine orders and disease response that has been widely criticized as a failure. On Friday, Japan's Ministry of Health reported that 634 people from the ship had tested positive for the virus. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an additional 18 cases from the ship, with an expectation that more will arise.

Two people have died.

"The quarantine was not justified, and violated the individual rights of the passengers while allowing the virus to literally pick them off one-by-one," Dr. Amesh Adalja, who works at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Business Insider in an email.

Adalja and other experts have criticized the decision to keep passengers and crew on the ship and said poor hygiene practices helped spread the virus.

"I'd like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told USA Today. "People were getting infected on that ship. Something went awry."

Here's how it got so bad.

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