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A passenger wearing a mask stands on the deck of the Diamond Princess, at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal, in Yokohama, Japan, on Feb. 13, 2020.

Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canadian health workers are assisting in Japan after 12 Canadians contracted the novel coronavirus while on a cruise ship.

Champagne says three members of the Public Health Agency of Canada and two medical personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces have been sent to Yokohama, the Japanese port city where the Diamond Princess has been docked since last week.

Some 3,500 passengers on the ship are under quarantine and 218 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Champagne says the Japanese government will allow some elderly people to complete the rest of their quarantine period at another facility off the ship.

Meanwhile, Champagne says consular officials are assisting in Cambodia where another ship with 279 Canadians on-board was recently allowed to dock after being rejected from multiple other countries over fears of the new coronavirus.

There have been no reported case of the virus, dubbed COVID-19, on-board the Westerdam, and Champagne says officials will help Canadians with the process of returning home.

The U.S. State Department will evacuate some American citizens and their families aboard the Diamond Princess, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

About 380 people will be offered seats on two evacuation flights from Japan back to the United States, the Journal said, citing an official of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The evacuees will arrive in the United States as early as Sunday, the newspaper said, citing Henry Walke, director of the CDC’s Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections.

With a report from Reuters

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