New Delhi: Two more Indians on board the Japanese quarantined cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Sunday even as India assured that it will provide all possible assistance and bring back its nationals on the ship following their final coronavirus tests.Also Read - Mumbai Local Train Latest Update: Passenger Number Increases to 40 Lakh For First Time This Year

A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the cruise liner ‘Diamond Princess’ that arrived at the Japanese coast earlier this month. Also Read - International Flights: UAE Relaxes Travel Guidelines, Covid Protocols For Indians Ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai

Earlier, three Indian crew members tested positive for the virus and are receiving treatment. Their condition is said to be stable and improving. Also Read - Fake Vaccination Certificates And Test Results Sold On Telegram For Rs 5,500: Report

The release of Wuhan-return passengers who were shifted to quarantine facilities in and around Delhi is scheduled to begin on Monday, the Indian Embassy said on Sunday.

The total number of people infected with the epidemic – officially named by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as ‘COVID-19’ – on the ship rose to 355 as of today.

“Over the last 2 days, 137 new cases on #DiamondPrincess tested positive for #COVID-19, including two Indian nationals, taken to onshore medical facilities for treatment. Three other Indian crew members, receiving treatment are responding well, with no fever or pain,” the Indian Embassy tweeted.

“Hoping our Indian nationals – braving the situation, to test negative, allowing them to travel back HOME. @IndianEmbTokyo stands ready for all possible assistance,” the mission stated.

The embassy said it was making efforts for early de-boarding of all the Indians from the ship after the end of the quarantine period and was in discussions with the Japanese government and the ship management company for the disembarkation modalities and welfare of Indians.

The cruise Diamond Princess with 3,711 people on board arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the novel virus on the ship.

They are also requested to follow the Japanese government’s health and quarantine protocols, the embassy said on its Facebook page.

The Japanese government on Thursday announced that passengers aged 80 or older will be given the option to disembark the ship if they test negative for COVID-19. Those who meet the age requirement and have pre-existing conditions or are staying in rooms without a balcony will be prioritised for disembarkation.

No Indian national falls under this category, eligible for early disembarkation, the statement said on Friday.

The death toll from China’s coronavirus epidemic climbed to 1,665 after 142 more people died, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei Province, and the confirmed cases jumped to 68,500, officials said on Sunday.

The coronavirus outbreak originated in central China’s Hubei province in December last year and has spread to several countries, including India. Since then, many countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights to the country.