Amid reports that there are more than 200 Indians, both passengers and crew members, on board the the cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined off Japan due to Coronavirus, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “we are closely following the developments.”
Jaishankar took to Twitter and said on Friday, “Many Indian crew and some Indian passengers are onboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined off Japan due to Coronavirus. None have tested positive, as per the latest information provided by our Embassy in Tokyo. We are closely following the developments.”
Many Indian crew & some Indian passengers are onboard the cruise ship #DiamondPrincess quarantined off Japan due to #Coronavirus. None have tested positive, as per the latest information provided by our Embassy @IndianEmbTokyo. We are closely following the developments.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 7, 2020
Meanwhile, three more people have tested positive at the cruise ship for the new Coronavirus, bringing the number aboard to 64, the government said on Saturday, with passengers facing a two-week quarantine.
The latest confirmation came a day after an additional 41 passengers were found to have contracted the virus, which has killed hundreds of people, most of them in China, where it has infected more than 30,000 on the mainland.
Japanese authorities have so far tested about 280 people on board the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined after a former passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong last month, was diagnosed with the virus.
Test results from six more people were released on Saturday, with three of them confirmed infected, the health ministry said without giving further details such as their nationalities.
The three people have already been sent to hospital, the ministry said in a statement.
There were more than 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship when it arrived off Japan’s coast on Monday evening. It docked in Yokohama on Thursday to resupply for a quarantine that could last until February 19.
One of those found infected is in serious condition. Many on board are elderly and at greater risk of developing complications from the virus.
Testing was initially carried out on those who displayed symptoms or had come into close contact with the former passenger diagnosed.
Japan has already reported at least 25 cases of coronavirus aside from the infections on board the ship, and evacuated hundreds of citizens from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the pathogen emerged, including on a fourth flight Friday.
Passengers on the ship have been asked to stay inside their cabins to prevent new infections and have expressed confusion and frustration.
The World Health Organization (WHO) called on Tokyo to provide sufficient support, including mental care, for the passengers and patients.
“There’s a lot to do to support those patients. Not just from the point of view of their physical health but from a mental health perspective,” Michael Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, told reporters in Geneva on Friday.
“It’s quite scary, very, very scary to be in that situation,” he said. “It’s a very stressful situation for those individuals.” But he also called for calm, saying, “Let’s be careful here not to overreact. This is a very close community living in very close quarters.
The death toll due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, the epicenter of the deadly virus has climbed to 722 on Saturday, while the number of confirmed cases also rose to 34,546, according to authorities.
Chinese health authorities said they received reports of 3,399 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 86 deaths on Friday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
The virus has spread to two dozen countries, prompting several governments to ban arrivals from China and urge their citizens to avoid travelling to the country. Some have recommended their citizens leave China.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) will convene a global research and innovation forum next week to mobilize international efforts to combat the deadly novel Coronavirus outbreak, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The Coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
The Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus in China is a novel strain and not seen before.