Health

Two Indians Test Positive for Coronavirus in Quarantined Cruise Ship

The cruise ship has been quarantined off Yokohama since February 5 after a passenger, who had earlier disembarked at Hong Kong, was found to have tested positive for N-Coronavirus.

New Delhi: Two Indians aboard a cruise ship anchored off the Japanese coast have tested positive for coronavirus so far, government sources said on Wednesday.

The cruise ship has been quarantined off Yokohama since February 5 after a passenger, who had earlier disembarked at Hong Kong, was found to have tested positive for N-Coronavirus.

Since then, the cruise ship with 3,711 people on board has been subjected to a two-week quarantine period which ends on February 19. Among the people on board, there are 138 Indian nationals – 132 crew members and six passengers.

It has been confirmed for the first time that Indian nationals are among the group who have tested positive for this mysterious virus. “As of February 12, 2020, 174 people have tested positive for N-Coronavirus, including two Indian nationals. People who have tested positive have been taken to hospitals for treatment,” said official sources.

Till now, three Indians in Kerala who had arrived from Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic, were found to be carrying the virus.

A man wearing a mask stands guard at the port next to the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan February 12, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon

The Indian embassy is reported to be in touch with the Indian nationals, many of whom have issued appeals for help.

“Embassy officials have also reached out to the Indian nationals on board and sought their cooperation after explaining to them the health and safety regulations of Japanese authorities,” said sources.

The passengers, during the quarantine period, are restricted to their rooms, where they are provided with protective masks, medicine, water and food supplies. Japanese doctors have also been sent aboard to attend to any needs if required.

Also read: How Scientists Quantify the Intensity of an Infectious Disease Outbreak

Sources added that the embassy has taken up the concerns raised by Indian nationals with the Japanese foreign ministry and the cruise company. “We understand that once the quarantine is over, everyone leaving the ship will be screened for temperature and other symptoms related to N-Coronavirus infection. Thereafter, people will be free to go to a place of their choice.”

So far, the cruise liner company has stated that the full fare of all passengers will be refunded. Crew members will also continue to be paid as per their existing contract during this period.