Three passengers that took the same cruise from China to Vietnam in January have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, with a further two suspected of being infected, the South China Morning Post has learned. While one case was confirmed by local government officials in Guangdong province, across the border from Hong Kong, a doctor working at a major hospital in the provincial capital of Guangzhou confirmed an additional two confirmed cases and two suspected cases at the facility. All four were aboard the same cruise ship, the World Dream, which sailed with more than 4,000 passengers from Nansha port in Guangzhou for Vietnam on January 19, before returning on January 24. The five-night “Impressions of Vietnam” cruise typically docks in tourist hotspots including Da Nang, Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang. “There was a clear risk of cross-contagion on board the cruise ship,” said the doctor, who declined to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media. But the doctor said she decided to disclose the information out of concern that thousands of passengers from the same cruise were at large, even though it has not been confirmed that there was an outbreak on board. On Sunday, authorities in Zhaoqing city in northern Guangdong said that one resident who had taken the same cruise had been diagnosed with coronavirus on Saturday. This is the only case the government has confirmed in connection with the cruise, according to government-run website, ycwb.com. However, the local health authority urged 41 additional Zhaoqing residents who had taken the cruise to report to self-quarantine at home or contact the local health department should they develop a fever. There were 108 Hubei residents on the ship, the authority said, including 28 from Wuhan, the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak that has already killed more people in China than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic in 2003 and infected more than 17,000. The doctor said that her hospital, one of 30 facilities designated for treating coronavirus in Guangdong, had reported the four cases to the Guangzhou Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which informed the cruise operator via the Chinese customs regulator. Dream Cruises said that after becoming aware that a cruise passenger was confirmed to be infected on Sunday, it took action to inform authorities and passengers. “Dream Cruises has subsequently been in contact with local government bodies and tourism boards to extend every assistance in regards to this situation including providing passenger and travel agent lists and will continue to cooperate with the authorities as information becomes available,” the company said in a statement released to The Post. “Additionally, Dream Cruises has provided information to travel agents that had booked passengers on the same cruise in order to assist in communicating the situation to our guests.” However, none of the passengers that were treated at the hospital had been contacted by the company, the doctor said. “We know that the coronavirus is much more contagious than Sars, in terms of both the speed and the strength of the spreading. We really need to locate the source as quickly as possible before the number of confirmed cases in Guangdong rockets,” the doctor said. As of Monday, 683 confirmed cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in Guangdong province, the manufacturing heartland of south China, with 2,660 under medical observation, according to the provincial government. On Sunday, Dream Cruises released a statement on its official Weibo account confirming that all passengers underwent body temperature checks at Nansha Wharf on January 24, and that all passengers with a fever were tested for the coronavirus and were all negative. Also on Sunday, Guangzhou’s state-run Nanfang Daily said that local authorities had conducted body temperature checks on the 4,482 passengers who returned from Vietnam on January 24. Another 607 people who boarded the same ship and cruised to Hong Kong for a two-night tour on the same day were also tested when the ship left Nansha. There were 18 cases of fever in total, but none tested positive for the coronavirus at that time, the Nanfang Daily reported. The Nansha Disease Prevention and Control Centre, which conducted the temperature checks, confirmed that they had taken place, but would not comment on further confirmed cases related to the cruise when contacted by The Post . The passengers had enjoyed a luxury cruise on board the 19-deck World Dream ship owned by Genting Hong Kong and operated as one of its Dream Cruise fleet that caters to growing demand from Asia’s rising middle class . The operator claims the ship is one of the largest and most spacious in the world, with 1,680 cabins and 35 bars and restaurants. With homeports in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, the ship cruises to Philippines, Vietnam and Hong Kong. However, with the outbreak of coronavirus, the ship is set to temporarily shift its homeport to Keelung in Taiwan, suspending operations out of Hong Kong and Guangzhou, the parent company announced last week. Sailings out of Hong Kong and Guangzhou between February 9 and March 22 have been cancelled. On Monday, it was announced that cruise lines worldwide will deny boarding to passengers and crew who have recently travelled to China, according to the global Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). CLIA Members have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has travelled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days CLIA statement “CLIA Members have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has travelled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days,” the body’s Hamburg office said in a statement. CLIA represents the world’s best-known cruise lines, including TUI, AIDA, MSC and Carnival Cruises. Last week, more than 6,000 tourists were detained aboard a cruise ship in Italy after two Chinese passengers fell ill. The passengers tested negative for coronavirus. Additional reporting by AFP. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.