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A man wearing a mask stands guard at the port next to the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan (Photo: Reuters)
A man wearing a mask stands guard at the port next to the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan (Photo: Reuters)

Two Indian crew on board Japan cruise ship test positive for coronavirus

  • A total of 138 Indians, including passengers and crew, are on board the ship
  • The Diamond Princess was placed in quarantine for two weeks on arriving in Yokohama, south of Tokyo

Two Indian crew on board cruise ship Diamond Princess off Japanese coast test positive for coronavirus, said the Indian mission in Japan.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Japan health ministry said 39 people have tested positive for the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan, with one quarantine officer also infected, bringing the total to 175, Reuters reported.

A total of 138 Indians, including passengers and crew, were on board the ship.

"Due to the suspicion of novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection, the ship has been quarantined by the Japanese authorities till February 19, 2020," the embassy said in a statement.

"Altogether 174 people have been tested positive for nCoV, including two Indian crew members," it said.

All the infected people have been taken to hospitals for adequate treatment, including further quarantine, in accordance with the Japanese health protocol, it said.

In a video recorded from the ship on Monday, an Indian crew member, Binay Kumar Sarkar, appealed to the Indian government and the UN to segregate the Indians on board on urgent basis.

"None of them have been checked (for coronavirus)," Sarkar, a chef from Bengal, said in Hindi. He was flanked by five of his Indians colleagues who were wearing masks.

"Please somehow save us as soon as possible. What's the point if something happens (to us)...I want to request the government of India and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi-ji, please segregate us and bring us back home safely," he said.

The Diamond Princess was placed in quarantine for two weeks on arriving in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on Feb. 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.

It is looking like an increasing economic threat for Japan, where manufacturers are reliant on Chinese companies for parts, and shops and hotels dependent on Chinese tourists.

About 3,700 people are on board the cruise ship, which usually has a crew of 1,100 and a passenger capacity of 2,670. Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said in parliament that he wanted to expand testing to all passengers and crew on board, and that authorities could muster resources to do more than 1,000 tests a day, according to national broadcaster NHK.

The British-flagged Diamond Princess is managed by Princess Cruise Lines, one of the world's largest cruise lines and a unit of Carnival Corp.

Kyodo news agency, citing the health ministry, said that of the 39 cases, 10 were crew and 29 were passengers.

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