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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Ship quarantined over coronavirus cases: In touch with embassy officials, says Indian crew member

The 30-year-old, who hails from Hatipa village in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district, is among 200 Indian crew members on board the ship, Diamond Princess, which has 61 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Kolkata | Updated: February 9, 2020 10:58:01 am
Coronavirus, coronavirus india, Coronavirus Japan, coronavirus on Diamond Princess ship, indians with coronavirus on cruise, kolkata coronavirus, kolkata city news Officials enter Diamond Princess to transfer a patient to hospital in Yokohama, Japan. (Reuters)

An Indian youth on board a luxury cruise quarantined near Yokohama port in Japan has said that Indian Embassy officials have gotten in touch with him, adding that Japanese authorities have assured all help and medical care.

The 30-year-old, who hails from Hatipa village in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district, is among 200 Indian crew members on board the ship, Diamond Princess, which has 61 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.

He had earlier appealed to Indian authorities for help after the Diamond Princess was quarantined. In videos on social media, he reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, urging them to get the Japanese government to separately quarantine those infected and uninfected on board the ship.

The youth, speaking to The Sunday Express via WhatsApp, said, “I have received a mail from Indian embassy in Tokyo, Japan stating that presently the ship is quarantined for 14 days starting from February 5 and all on board have to follow health and safety regulations. It says that they are in touch with Japanese authorities who have assured that all passengers and crew are being taken care of and their health is monitored. Meanwhile two more people have been identified as positive in the ship. Everyone is so scared here.

“My supervisor also told me that after February 19, if everything is alright we will be able to leave the ship. I just want to go home. My family members too are very worried. I do not know that after this incident whether I will be ever able to work on a cruise ship,” said the youth.

The company which runs the fleet of luxury cruises released a statement on Twitter, saying, “Although we are facing many limitations and challenges, we are doing our best to deliver the ship’s most critical needs. We are also working to provide as much care and comfort as we can to everyone onboard. We hope these gestures will lift the spirits of those onboard in this difficult time.”

The ship, which left Hong Kong port on January 25, was quarantined after a person who disembarked in Hong Kong last month was diagnosed with the virus.

“We are waiting for him to return safely. We are just praying that he and others do not catch the infection. We have already appealed to everyone for help,” the youth’s brother told The Sunday Express from Siliguri.

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