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'Improvement in condition of 2 Indians infected with coronavirus on board cruise ship off Japanese coast'

Press Trust of India  |  Tokyo 

The condition of two Indian crew infected with coronavirus on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast is stable and improving, the Indian embassy in Japan said on Thursday as authorities confirmed that 218 passengers have been infected with the deadly disease.

The Indian nationals are currently in a medical facility under quarantine as per the Japanese health protocol, an Indian embassy official told PTI.

"We have established contact with the doctor treating them and have been told that their condition was stable and improving. They will be put to another round of tests in next few days and further treatment will be carried out based on the results," he said.

The cruise ship 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.

A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and six passengers, were on board the ship.

Sonali Thakkar, 24, from Mumbai, who is part of the security team on board the cruise ship, told CNN that she and her colleague became ill with a headache, cough and a fever two days ago.

She has been asked by her supervisor to stop working and she is currently staying in her cabin in isolation.

"I'm not eating very well and have been having fevers. We all are really scared and tense," she told the American TV channel in a Skype call on Wednesday.

Thakkar said that there are some crew members whose job it is to serve food to the isolated passengers and those on the security team who had been working around infected people.

"And then we all eat together. There are many places where we all are together, not separated from each other. Especially when we sit in the same mess hall and eat together, the place where it can spread very fast.

"There are many more crew members who have been isolated to their cabins who are not even being tested yet," she added.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the Indian embassy is in constant touch with the crew and passengers, and rendering all necessary support and assistance.

"Our Embassy @IndianEmbTokyo is in constant touch with the crew & passengers of #DiamondPrincess off Yokohama, Japan, rendering all necessary support & assistance. Passengers & crew are currently quarantined by Japanese authorities," he said in a tweet.

"Two Indian crew members have tested positive for #Coronavirus. Will keep you updated," he said in another tweet.

On Wednesday, the Indian embassy said in a statement that due to the suspicion of novel coronavirus infection, the ship has been quarantined by the Japanese authorities till February 19, 2020.

All the infected people have been taken to hospitals for adequate treatment, including further quarantine, in accordance with the Japanese health protocol, it said.

The Indian embassy was in touch with the Japanese authorities to ensure the welfare of Indian nationals on board the ship as well as the possibility of their early disembarkation, in case they are not found to have tested positive for the virus, it said.

"None of the Indian nationals have complained of discriminatory treatment meted out to them," it said, adding that the mission has been in constant touch with the ship management company- Princess Cruises (for the crew members) and the employer of six passengers to tie up their travel back to India.

Those on the ship have been asked to wear masks and allowed limited access to the open decks as they are advised to remain in the cabins most of the times to contain the spread of the virus, according to media reports.

Carnival Japan Inc., the Japanese branch of Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., which operates the ship, on Monday vowed to refund all 2,666 passengers due to the on board outbreak of the new coronavirus

The company will additionally cover all costs incurred by those quarantined aboard the ship since last Tuesday, when passengers were originally scheduled to disembark at Yokohama.

The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak has spiked to 1,367 with 254 new fatalities, the highest for a single day, reported mostly from the worst-affected Hubei province while the confirmed cases of infection jumped to nearly 60,000, health officials said on Thursday.

The coronavirus outbreak originated in central China's Hubei province in December last year.

The virus was officially named "COVID-19" by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday.

Several countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights to the country.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 13 2020. 17:44 IST
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