Coronavirus outbreak: At least 65 new cases on cruise ship off Japan, deaths pass 900 after deadlies

Passenger tests aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have confirmed at least 65 more cases of coronavirus, with four Australians among them.

The figure, announced to passengers after a statement by the cruise operator put new infections at 66, takes the tally on board to 135, showing a rapid rise in the outbreak on the ship docked in the port of Yokohama.

Among the new cases are 45 Japanese, 11 Americans and four Australians, the ship's operator, Princess Cruises, said in the earlier statement.

"This is not news that anyone of us wanted to receive," the captain told passengers in a broadcast.

"However we have been also advised since we are in the early quarantine period of 14 days, it was not unexpected."

The captain's remarks formed part of an audio recording about the 66 new cases posted on Twitter by Yardley Wong, a passenger documenting the experience on the ship, using the hashtag #anxiety.

In a subsequent announcement, however, the captain told passengers he had been advised to correct the figure of new infections to 65 from 66.

Japan's health ministry confirmed the 65 cases.

The Diamond Princess was placed in quarantine for two weeks upon arriving in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on February 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.

About 3700 people including 223 Australians are aboard the ship, which usually has a crew of 1100 and a passenger capacity of 2670. Of 10 people initially diagnosed, two are Australian.

Passengers have been allowed on decks in shifts to get fresh air and encouraged to regularly take their temperature.

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