The Indian Embassy in Japan on Sunday said that two more Indians aboard a British cruise ship, quarantined at the port city of Yokohama in Japan, have tested positive for the coronavirus. The embassy said the two people were among 137 fresh cases reported on the ship between Saturday and Sunday, taking the total number of infected people to 355.
“Both have been sent to medical facilities for further treatment and quarantine,” a statement read. “This is in addition to three (3) Indian nationals who tested positive over last few days. Health conditions of all Indian nationals currently being treated for COVID-19 are stable and improving.” The statement added that the authorities were coordinating with the Japanese government and the cruise ship’s management to ensure the well-being of those on board the ship Diamond Princess.
A third Indian crew member on board the ship had tested positive for the virus, the embassy said on Friday after two Indian crew members first contracted it earlier in the same week. The embassy had said that the condition of all the three were stable and improving.
In another tweet, the Indian embassy said that final tests to check for the virus among the crew and passengers on the Diamond Princess will begin on Monday and continue over the next few days. “Hoping our Indian nationals – braving the situation, to test negative, allowing them to travel back home,” the embassy tweeted. “The Indian Embassy in Tokyo stands ready for all possible assistance.”
Meanwhile, 406 people quarantined at an Indo Tibetan Border Police facility in Delhi have tested negative for the virus, a spokesperson of the security forces said. The final samples of all those quarantined after being evacuated from China’s Wuhan city were collated by a team of doctors on Friday, reported PTI. They are expected to be discharged from Monday onwards on the basis of the health ministry’s advisory as per due medical procedure.
Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri on Sunday expressed his solidarity with the Chinese government and its people, who have been battling the outbreak. “As a concrete step to tackle the outbreak, India will soon send a consignment of medical supplies to China,” he said. Beijing had said that it required medical masks, gloves, and suits for staff attending to the virus-affected patients. Masks have also become scarce in the country due to a spike in demand.
“India will do everything within its means to support the people of China in this hour of crisis.” He noted that the country’s Wuhan city in Hubei province is the worst-affected region, and said they have a “very special place” in the hearts of Indians.
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.