The contagious corona-virus has infected another 65 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess docked and moored in at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port in Japan on Monday.
The Diamond Princess has been in quarantine since arriving off the Japanese coast early last week after the new virus was detected in a former passenger who got off the ship last month in Hong Kong.
When the vessel arrived off Japan, authorities initially tested nearly 300 people of the 3,711 on board for the virus, gradually evacuating dozens who tested positive to local medical facilities.
In recent days, testing has expanded to those who had close contact with other infected passengers or crew, and several more cases were reported over the weekend.
Those who remain on the ship have been asked to stay inside their cabins and allowed out only briefly onto open decks.
They have been asked to wear masks and keep a distance from one another when outside, and given thermometers to regularly monitor their temperatures.
Their period will be extended beyond the 19 February as appropriate only for close contacts of newly confirmed cases. They need to remain in quarantine for 14 days from last contact with a confirmed case.
The quarantine has made life on board the ship difficult, particularly for those in windowless interior cabins and for a significant number of passengers who require medication for various chronic conditions.
Officials continue to prevent passengers from disembarking because there is concern that:
- The ship’s ventilation system is not designed to prevent transmission of the corona-virus.
- The crew members (responsible for distributing meals to passengers in their quarters) are not trained in quarantine procedures and may also be incubating the virus.
- Lack of appropriate sanitation may create other issues on board.
Asia Times / ABC Flash Point Travel News 2020.