Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Cruise liner hit by sickness bug

Diamond Princess in Alaska
The Diamond Princess has been on a 16-day tour

Dozens of passengers on a cruise ship have been confined to their cabins after an outbreak of the norovirus sickness bug.

About 60 passengers have been taken ill with it on the Princess Cruises' ship Diamond Princess in the Far East.

Those affected were unable to leave the ship when it stopped at Shanghai on a 16-day cruise which has included stops in Hong Kong and Singapore.

A number of cruises have been hit by this bug in recent years.

Norovirus is the most common form of stomach upset and causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It normally lasts between one and three days.

John Lloyd, 69, from Stevenage, England, told The Sun newspaper: "We're cooped up here with this virus. It has been hellish. It was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime."

'Additional disinfection'

A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises said the Chinese health authorities had confirmed the cause of the sickness as norovirus "which is currently circulating widely throughout certain parts of the world and which is extremely contagious".

She went on: "We are working closely with the Chinese health authorities who are sailing with the ship until her arrival in Xingang (in China) on Friday.

"The ship is currently undergoing an extensive sanitisation to contain any further spread of the illness, and we have planned additional enhanced ship disinfection for the turnaround in Xingang."

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