Hyderabad: An increasing number of crew members on the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess, which has been docked at Yokohama in Japan since February 4 after cases of coronavirus began being diagnosed among people on board, are reported to be getting increasingly worried of contracting the disease.
With six new cases diagnosed among the ship’s passengers and crew on Sunday, there appears to be an increasing clamour among crew members, who believe they are in good health, to be taken off the ship and quarantined at an onshore facility.
Among the latest cases identified are reportedly five crew members and a passenger.
One of the crew members said that the five crew members — who were diagnosed with the disease among the six new cases — were from the Philippines. Previously, two other crew members were taken off the ship after testing positive, the crew member said.
Among the Indian crew are individuals from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Bengal.
With the six new diagnosed cases, the total number of coronavirus victims on the ship has risen to 70. The ship has nearly 3,700 people on board, including more than 2,600 passengers, with the rest being the crew.
There are about 160 Indians among the ship’s crew who have been keeping in touch with their families calling them on phones or keeping in touch through social media apps. “Many of us are afraid that the re-circulated air in the ship through the air-conditioning system will spread the disease. All we are asking is that all those who have no symptoms — whether passengers or crew — be taken off the ship, and quarantined onshore,” an Indian crew member said.
“There is no problem in terms of food and other facilities or care being shown by the management. But each day the fear is growing. Everyone is worried and scared,” the crew member said.
In a blog post on the website of Princess Cruises — the company that runs the ship — the company confirmed an additional six cases of coronavirus, tested by the Japanese ministry of health on Diamond Princess. It said, in addition to the 70 coronavirus patients, over the past two days, 10 other guests were disembarked needing other medical attention (not for coronavirus) and were transferred to local hospitals. “Information on nationalities of these new guests will be forthcoming,” the company said.
In the same post, Princes Cruises president Jan Swartz was quoted as saying: “Our guests and crew on board the Diamond Princess are the focus of our entire global organization right now and all of our hearts are with each of them. In this unprecedented situation, the Japanese ministry of health authorities are working with us collaboratively on additional enhancements, approving new procedures as we adapt our process to the unique challenges of this situation.”
On Saturday, Rai Caluori, executive vice-president at Princess Cruises. was quoted on the blog saying: “Although we are facing many limitations and challenges, we are doing our best to deliver the ship’s most critical needs. We are also working to provide as much care and comfort as we can to everyone onboard. We hope these gestures will lift the spirits of those onboard in this difficult time.”...