US embassy insisted it didn't need to test employees who visited infected cruise ship: report

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo refused to conduct coronavirus testing on employees who visited the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess.

"The Daily Beast has learned that the embassy exposed at least five employees to fully virulent coronavirus sufferers from the cruise ship Diamond Princess last month, and when they all asked to be tested, the U.S Embassy Tokyo Deputy Consul General Timothy G. Smith not only refused to do so unless they exhibited symptoms, he strongly discouraged them from getting outside testing," wrote Jake Adelstein.

Japan similarly refused to test health workers who went on board the ship. Out of the 90 who did so, at least 10 have since been sickened.

The State Department denies that any protocol was ignored.

“Throughout this crisis, we have continuously worked hard to ensure the safety of our staff, including through training and the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment by U.S. Government medical professionals," said the State Department. “All health and safety protocols have been strictly followed in accordance with U.S. and local requirements and standards.  If required, any testing would be done in coordination and consultation with health authorities.”

Over 700 people aboard the Diamond Princess have been infected with coronavirus, and six people have died.