Researchers that investigated the Diamond Princess Cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan after a coronavirus outbreak onboard discovered traces of the virus on surfaces as many as 17 days after the ship was evacuated according to a report by Microsoft News.
It was one of the two cruise ships that were docked in Japan and collectively reported that 800 passengers had tested positive for the coronavirus, 10 of which have since resulted in death.
The rooms of both symptomatic and asymptomatic passengers were swabbed for infectious diseases and the results were reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weekly report.
Microsoft News reported on the details emergining from the research being conducted on the cruise ships.
The ship, operated by Carnival Corp.’s Princess Cruises, had more than 700 coronavirus cases. It was quarantined for a time off of Yokohama, Japan, and was the largest outbreak outside of mainland China at one point.
A previous analysis found that the virus remained viable on plastic and stainless steel for up to three days, although levels fell dramatically over time. It was less stable on copper, where no viable virus was found after 4 hours, and cardboard, which was clean after 24 hours, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The latest study looked at uncleaned rooms, but other research has found that cleaning the rooms of Covid-19 patients was highly effective at killing the virus.
Coronavirus has forced the U.S. cruise industry to shut down after a series of outbreaks at sea, and policymakers are looking for clues about the safety of the vessels going forward. The episodes have caused cruise line stocks to crater. The industry has been hurt in the past by outbreaks of norovirus, sometimes called stomach flu.
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The CDC report also said that passengers on the Diamond Princess mainly spread the virus before the ship went into quarantine, but infections among the crew peaked afterward.
The cruise ships have proven useful for determining characteristics of the coronavirus because the passengers remained confined onboard while every passenger was tested and their health could be tracked after they were released back to their home country.
At the time, the U.S. citizens that chose to come back to America with the assistance of the State Department, the ten positive cases of the coronavirus was the biggest cluster in the country. As of this week, the CDC has reported 44,183 positive cases of the coronavirus in America.