The Indian Embassy in Japan on Monday confirmed that two more Indian crew members on board a British cruise ship quarantined at the Japanese port city of Yokohama have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. With this, six Indians on the Diamond Princess have tested positive for COVID-19 – the official name of the virus. Last week, the embassy had reported five cases of infection, but it later revised the figure to four.
The embassy said 99 cases were reported from the ship on Monday, taking the number of infections to 454. “This includes two Indian crew members who have been transferred to medical facilities for necessary treatment and quarantine,” the embassy said in a statement. “The four Indian crew members who earlier tested positive continue to receive treatment. Their health conditions are stable and responding well to the treatment.”
There are 138 Indians, including passengers and crew, on the ship. The embassy on Sunday said final tests to check for the virus among the crew and passengers would begin on Monday and continue for the next few days.
Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in China said a consignment of medical supplies would be sent to the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the outbreak started in December. The flight that will transport the supplies has been allowed to bring back Indians from the province. “On its return, the flight will have limited capacity to take on board Indians wishing to return to India from Wuhan/Hubei,” the embassy added. “Many Indian nationals currently in Wuhan/Hubei province and wishing to return to India have already been in touch with the embassy in the past two weeks.”
The embassy appealed to Indians to get in touch with it if it wants to get on the plane. “We urge all Indian nationals from Wuhan/Hubei who intend to avail this flight and have not yet contacted us, to urgently call our hotlines +8618610952903 and +8618612083629 or send email to email@example.com before 1900 hours today [17 February 2020],” it added.
This announcement came a day after an Indian couple stranded in the city appealed to the Indian government to evacuate them. The two, identified as Ashish Yadav and Neha Yadav, are from Uttar Pradesh. Ashish Yadav is an associate professor at the Wuhan Textile University, and Neha Yadav is a PhD scholar. They could not be evacuated earlier as Neha Yadav had undergone a surgery.
Meanwhile, the first batch of Indians rescued from Wuhan and quarantined at a facility of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police in Delhi were discharged on Monday, PTI reported, citing officials. “After the final coronavirus test reports of all 406 people living at our facility were found negative, the first batch was discharged today,” said a spokesperson of the border security force. “We expect about 200 people will leave by tonight. The rest will be sent on Tuesday.”
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also visited the facility and interacted with those quarantined. He informed them about the Centre’s measures to tackle the epidemic. The security forces provided vehicles to those who wanted to go to the airport, bus stations, or railway stations.