Indian nationals still on cruise ship to be tested for coronavirus: Embassy


PTI, Feb 22, 2020, 1:10 PM IST

Tokyo: Indians, who are still on board a cruise ship moored off the Japanese coast, will be tested for the novel coronavirus infection along with others on the vessel by the Japanese authorities, the Indian embassy said on Saturday as all the healthy passengers deboarded after the quarantine period ended.

The last batch of passengers showing no signs of the deadly disease deboarded the ship, Diamond Princess, on Friday after the end of the quarantine period.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that over 1,000 passengers and crew will remain on board the ship after Friday’s disembarkations.

A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people, on board the ship when it docked.

“All Indian nationals, amongst others, onboard Diamond Princess will be tested for COVID-19 by Japanese authorities, after all passengers disembarked yesterday (Friday),” the embassy tweeted.

“@IndianEmbTokyo sincerely hopes that none will show any sign of #COVID19, enabling further facilitation,” it said.

Till now, eight Indians have tested positive for the COVID-19 and are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Japan.

The condition of the infected Indians is improving, the embassy said.

“No additional new cases in respect of Indian nationals testing positive for COVID-19 since yesterday (Friday) on board Diamond Princess,” it tweeted.

The ship docked at the Yokohama port, near Tokyo, on February 3 with 3,711 passengers and crew on board. It was quarantined after a passenger who disembarked last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the disease.

Some of the passengers with no infection began leaving the ship on Wednesday after the end of a two-week quarantine period that failed to stop the spread of the virus among passengers and crew.

The ship has the largest cluster of COVID-19 cases outside China. A total of 634 people tested positive for the disease. Two former passengers of the ship have also died.

The death toll in China’s novel coronavirus climbed to 2,345 with 109 more deaths reported, while the confirmed cases rose to 76,288, Chinese health officials said on Saturday.

A team of WHO experts, which is currently in the country to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak, is expected to visit the worst-affected Wuhan city on Saturday.

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