NEW DELHI: The number of coronavirus-positive cases on the Diamond Princess, quarantined at Yokohama’s Daikoku pier in Japan for over a week, has crossed the 200-mark. One more Indian crew member was among those tested positive for the infection, taking the number of Indians infected on the ship to three — just as many as within India.
Every infected person from the ship has been taken to hospitals on shore for treatment and quarantine. “The Embassy of India in Tokyo has contacted all Indian nationals who had tested positive for COVID-19 … Their health conditions have been confirmed to be stable and improving,” a statement issued by the Embassy said.
The Japanese government will allow passengers who are 80 years or older to disembark if they test negative for the virus. Those with “pre-existing conditions or staying in rooms without balcony” will also be prioritized for disembarkation. However, the Embassy added, no Indian national qualifies for early disembarkation under these criteria. A day ago, health minister Harsh Vardhan had said at a press conference that it is not possible to selectively seek release of Indians when passengers from several countries continue to be quarantined.
With just five days to go for the February 19 deadline, when the quarantine is supposed to end, there are apprehensions among those on board that the period may be extended. “They have not even tested everyone yet. We don’t know for sure when we can leave,” said Binita, a security officer who works on gangway operations on the ship. Unconfirmed estimates put the number of those who have been tested till now at about 700. The ship had 3,711 on board when quarantine began. Princess Cruises, which runs the cruise line, said it could not comment on the timeline since the Japan ministry of health is defining all protocols.


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