Quarantined Cruise Diamond Princess Situation Escalates, Prompting Evacuation Plans For The Elderly

Already containing the highest population of novel coronavirus – now dubbed Covid-19 – cases outside of China, infections on cruise ship Diamond Princess are only multiplying by the day.

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On Thursday (13 Feb), Japan’s health minister Katsunobu Kato confirmed 44 more cases on board, according to a report by The Straits Times (ST).

This brings the total number to 218, up from 174 just yesterday (12 Feb).

Diamond Princess passengers & crew affected

ST reports that out of the 44 new cases, 43 are passengers and 1 a crew member.

Health officials discovered the 44 after running 221 new tests in ongoing efforts to monitor infections on board.

While passengers get personal cabins, meal delivery, and enough space to keep a distance between each other while walking on deck, things are allegedly different for the ship’s crew.

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In a separate article, ST mentioned that “hundreds of crew members are eating, living and working elbow to elbow as they try to keep life as comfortable as possible for those above.”

Working in such an environment is surely unsafe, especially with the viral outbreak in mind.

Plans to move elderly without Covid-19 off the ship

In view of the increasing risk of widespread infection, authorities are planning urgent measures to protect whoever they can.

Top of their priority is the elderly who test negative for Covid-19, states ST.

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Mr Kato claims that the government will provide lodging for them once they leave the Diamond Princess.

Instead of holing them up on the ship, perhaps a more comfortable accommodation on land will be better. The operation will likely start either some time today or tomorrow.

6 more days of quarantine

Under quarantine since it moored off the coast of Japan on 3 Feb, passengers and crew have till 19 Feb to remain on board.

What will happen after that remains unclear, but we hope people on board will stay strong through this challenging period.

Featured image adapted from USA Today.