A third Indian crew member on board a cruise ship quarantined at the port city of Yokohama in Japan has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Japan said on Friday. There are 138 Indians, including passengers and crew, on board the Diamond Princess, which has been isolated since February 3.
“One more Indian crew member on Diamond Princess tested positive for COVID-19 [official name of the virus] and hospitalised for treatment,” the embassy tweeted. “Earlier, two more Indian nationals had tested positive. [The] Indian Embassy is in contact with all three, whose conditions are stable and improving.” The embassy said no other Indian on board had yet showed symptoms of infection.
The embassy is coordinating with Japanese authorities to monitor the Indians, and following designated health protocols. It added that many of the Indians on the ship had responded to the embassy, and expressed their understanding of the quarantine regulations. “As of 14 February 2020, altogether 218 people have tested positive for COVID-19, including three Indian crew members,” the statement read. “All 218 people, including Indian nationals, have been taken to hospitals for further treatment and quarantine.”
On Wednesday, the Indian Embassy had confirmed that two Indian crew members had tested positive for the virus along with 174 others. In a statement, the embassy said the ship would remain in quarantine till February 19.
Last week, and Indian chef on the ship had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rescue him, his colleagues and Indian passengers before they get infected with coronavirus. “Please somehow save us as soon as possible,” appealed Binay Kumar Sarkar, a 31-year-old chef from North Dinajpur district of West Bengal. “What’s the point if something happens [to us]?...I want to tell the government of India, Modi ji, please segregate us and bring us back home safely.”
The novel coronavirus toll in China went up to 1,483 on Friday. However, there has been a drop in the number of new cases in Hubei province, which has reported the most deaths.
The coronavirus is considered to have originated in a live seafood market in the province’s Wuhan city. Infection symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It causes respiratory illness, and is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which had also emerged from China in 2002. SARS killed 774 people around the world.