Two more Indians have tested positive for the novel coronavirus infection on the Diamond Princess Cruise ship moored off the Japanese coast, the Indian Embassy said on Sunday (February 16). Three more Indians had tested positive earlier, taking the total number of Indians infected to five.
As many as 137 new cases emerged over the weekend on board the Diamond Princess Cruise, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 355, it said. The two Indians found infected over the weekend have been sent to medical facilities for further treatment and quarantine, the embassy added.
“Health conditions of all Indian nationals currently being treated for COVID-19 are stable and improving. Embassy is coordinating with Japanese government and ship management company for health, safety and welfare for on-board Indian nationals,” the embassy said in a statement.
It assured India will provide all possible assistance to its nationals on board the quarantined cruise ship to return home after they test negative in the final coronavirus tests that would begin on Monday. A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the ship.
In a tweet, it said the final tests for COVIDー19 on the ship would begin on February 17 and continue over multiple days. “Hoping our Indian nationals – braving the situation, to test negative, allowing them to travel back HOME. @IndianEmbTokyo stands ready for all possible assistance,” the mission said.
Final tests for #COVIDー19 on #DiamondPrincess begins 17 Feb, to continue over multiple days. Hoping our Indian nationals – braving the situation, to test negative, allowing them to travel back HOME. @IndianEmbTokyo stands ready for all possible assistance. @MEAIndia
— India in Japanインド大使館 (@IndianEmbTokyo) February 16, 2020
On Saturday, it said that the condition of the three Indians infected with the virus was improving. “Happy to inform that health conditions of 3 Indians being treated for COVID-19 have improved and no new cases of infection of Indians on the ship,” the embassy tweeted.
The embassy said it was making efforts for early de-boarding of all the Indians from the ship after the end of the quarantine period and was in discussions with the Japanese government and the ship management company for the disembarkation modalities and welfare of Indians.
The Indian mission has also sent an email to all its nationals on board the ship, assuring them of all help and assistance. They are also requested to follow the Japanese government’s health and quarantine protocols, the embassy said on its Facebook page.
The Japanese government on Thursday announced that passengers aged 80 or older will be given the option to disembark the ship if they test negative. However, no Indian national falls under this category, eligible for early disembarkation, the statement said on Friday.
The death toll from China’s coronavirus epidemic climbed to 1,665 after 142 more people died, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei Province, and the confirmed cases jumped to 68,500, officials said on Sunday. More than 580 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China.
(With inputs from agencies)