Elated passengers started to leave a coronavirus-wracked cruise ship in Japan on Wednesday after negative tests for the virus that has taken more than 2,000 lives in China already.
With at least 542 positive cases, the Diamond Princess has proven to be a fertile breeding ground for the virus and there is growing criticism of Japan’s handling of quarantine arrangements as passengers prepare to scatter into the wider world.
British passenger David Abel, who is now a minor celebrity in the early days of the quarantine with his cheerful video messages — including a cheeky appeal to the captain for whisky — typified the mood shift onboard.
China declared Wednesday that there have been 1,749 new infections, this month’s lowest number of new cases. At the epicentre of Hubei province, 56 confirmed cases came out. Michael Ryan, Head of the Health Emergencies Program at the WHO, said the outbreak was “very serious” and could grow, but stressed that outside of Hubei, it “affected a very, very small, small proportion of the population.”
Passengers Evacuation Under Process Despite Positive Results
Worldwide, there were 900 cases, including five deaths in France, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In Japan, however, some have expressed concern about letting people from the cruise ship to board home flights or spread out into Japan’s famously crowded capital. Kentaro Iwata, a professor at Kobe University’s infectious disease division, criticized the quarantine on-ship as a “major failure, an error”
He later said in a video posted online that after a brief visit to the ship he was self-quarantining, where he posed major concerns about the onboard processes.
Many countries seem to have lost all patience for the on-board quarantine. Also, charter planes reach to get their citizens back. More than 300 Americans flew home in the first such evacuation Monday, though 14 of the travellers had tested positive. South Korea flew to Seoul in early Wednesday, with six of its nationals plus a Japanese spouse. 14 days in solitary confinement is on the plan, the Yonhap news agency reports.
Britain, Hong Kong and Australia are one of the other countries which have promised to repatriate citizens. This is from the ship but will focus on another 14-day quarantine on home soil. The medical expert at King’s College London, Nathalie MacDermott, stressed the importance of continued quarantine even after leaving the ship.
Disembarkation for three days to happen as more test results become available. Anyone who has ever had contact with an affected passenger will have to endure quarantine for another 14 days. Additionally, when the last passenger has disembarked the crew will start a new quarantine. But people in Yokohama emerged to support the decision to let out passengers despite fears about the virus.
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