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China Virus: Passengers Begin Disembarking Quarantined Diamond Princess Cruise Ship

Japanese authorities are mulling whether to allow some passengers disembark from the “Diamond Princess” cruise ship earlier than planned, as they are suffering from illnesses and mental stress on the ship where 135 people have been confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus. #Coronavirus #ChinaVirus #CoronavirusOutbreak #Japan #DiamondPrincess

The ship has been kept in quarantine at the port of Yokohama since a Hong Kong passenger on board was found infected with the virus on Feb 5.

According to the latest data, 439 of the over 3,700 passengers received tests for the virus over 30 percent of the tested were confirmed positive.

The Diamond Princess was supposed to set off for its originally scheduled voyage at Tuesday noon and return to the port on the morning of next day. However, the departure time was delayed as the authorities were disembarking and quarantining the 65 passengers who were confirmed infected on Monday, according to a Tuesday broadcast from the ship’s captain.

“Well, an update on our departure from Yokohama. Today, we are still disembarking our guests and crew and this time we have completed 32 out of the 65 disembarkations as per the latest tests received yesterday. I’ve been advised that the Japanese authorities are prioritizing cases for disembarkations based on immediate need,” the captain said in the broadcast.

Among those infected, five are crew members who worked in restaurant, provided drink services and cleaned passenger rooms.

Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Monday began to discuss the possibility of an early end of quarantine for some of the passengers on board, including those elderly passengers, those suffering from other diseases and those couldn’t handle the psychological stress brought by the isolation. However, the ministry didn’t make any decisions till Tuesday.

According to guest researcher of the University of Tokyo Eiji Kusumi, the parents of one of his patients, who are both over 80 years old and having health issues such as high blood pressure, are stuck on the cruise ship with their medicines running out.

“There are many elderly passengers on board. Some of them have cardiac diseases and high blood pressure. Their health is not in good conditions. The situation is likely to harm their health more,” said Kusumi.

Kusumi suggested the passengers on board to take simple but effective methods to properly protect themselves.

“The infection routes include physical contact and droplet spread. Contact infection means physical contact between human and the places where the virus stayed, so they should wash hands frequently,” said the doctor.

Authorities are sending more medical workers and medicines aboard to help the ill passengers. The Chinese Embassy in Japan also got into contact with the Chinese passengers on board, among whom over 30 Hong Kong passengers said they need medicines urgently.

Through intensive work, the embassy was able to address the needs of most passengers.

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