A third Indian crew member has tested positive for the novel coronavirus aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess, the Indian embassy in Tokyo reported today.
Embassy officials, who claim to be in touch with all the three, have reported that their condition is “stable and improving”. They are currently undergoing treatment.
The Diamond Princess, a British cruise ship docked at Yokohoma in Japan, is currently under quarantine amid a rampant rise in coronavirus cases aboard. Of the 3,700 passengers and crew members aboard, nearly 220 had tested positive until reports last came in.
The ship is carrying 138 Indians, two of whom had tested positive on Thursday.
Several Indians on the ship have asked the Indian government to come to their aid. Binay Kumar Sarkar — a chef from north Bengal — had gone on social media to appeal for help. “Please somehow save us as soon as possible. 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,” he said.
Later, an Indian security officer sent out a similar SOS message through an interview with NDTV. “We are scared that if the infection is spreading, it is spreading so fast that we could also become one of them. We don’t want to. We just want to go back home,” said Sonali Thakkar, who was placed in isolation on Monday.
The 24-year-old officer’s appeal had come even as the Diamond Princess reported nearly 40 new coronavirus cases. The situation on the cruise ship is being compounded by the delay in getting back results on coronavirus tests, she told NDTV.
However, hope floats. Japan today allowed around 11 passengers unaffected by the virus to deboard the quarantined cruise ship and take up residence in government-designated isolated lodging on land. The first of them departed the massive cruise ship on Friday afternoon, travelling in buses with blacked out windows. At the wheel was a driver dressed head-to-toe in white protective suit, complete with goggles and mask.