More than 200 Indians, both passengers and crew members, are among the 3,700-plus people who are onboard the luxury cruise currently quarantined near Yokohama port in Japan, with 64 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
While no Indian has so far tested positive for the deadly virus, panic is on the rise. On Friday, a West Bengal man on board the ship posted SOS messages on social media, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to ask the Japanese government to keep those infected separately from the uninfected onboard the ship.
The 30-year-old also asked the authorities to rescue Indian citizens from Japan just as they rescued those stuck in China’s Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said the developments of the cruise ship are being monitored closely. “Many Indian crew & some Indian passengers are onboard the cruise ship #DiamondPrincess quarantined off Japan due to #Coronavirus. None have tested positive, as per the latest information provided by our Embassy @IndianEmbTokyo. We are closely following the developments."
Earlier, Japan's Health Ministry confirmed that the number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess ship off the coast of Yokohama reached 61. The 61 confirmed patients are from Japan (28); the US (11); Australia and Canada (seven); China (three); and the UK, New Zealand, Taiwan, Philippines, Argentina (one), according to the authorities.
The Ministry has asked the rest of the passengers and crew members to remain on the ship for at least 14 days, the estimated maximum time for the incubation of the virus. In total, the roughly 2,700 passengers and 1,000 crew come from 56 countries. The first man to be identified was a Hong Kong citizen in his 80s. The ship sailed on January 20 from Yokohama and went through Okinawa and Kagoshima in southwest Japan.