Tokyo: Two Indian crew on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Tokyo said on Wednesday, as authorities confirmed that 174 people have been infected with the deadly disease.
The cruise ship Diamond Princess with 3,711 people on board arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the virus on the ship. A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, are on board.
The ship had been quarantined by the Japanese authorities till February 19, 2020. To-date, altogether 174 people have tested positive, including two Indian crew members, the embassy said.
All the infected people have been taken to hospitals for treatment, including further quarantine.
The Indian Embassy is in constant touch with the Japanese authorities to ensure their welfare as well as the possibility of their early disembarkation, in case they are not found to have tested positive for the virus, it said.
Japanese authorities have confirmed that they are following the designated health protocols.
Giving details, it said that those who have not tested positive, irrespective of their nationality, have not been allowed to disembark, except the critically ill passengers and crew members who have been allowed to be taken to hospitals for further treatment and quarantine.
Media reports had earlier showed a video of Indian crew members pleading to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UN to segregate the Indians on board the ship on an urgent basis.
One of the crew members in the video, identified as Binay Kumar Sarkar, said, "Please somehow save us as soon as possible. What's the point if something happens (to us)...I want to request the government of India and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi-ji, please segregate us and bring us back home safely."
Those on the ship have been asked to wear masks and allowed limited access to the open decks; they have been advised to remain in the cabins most of the times to contain the spread of the virus, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, the operator of the ship on Monday vowed to refund all 2,666 passengers due to the on board outbreak of the coronavirus. The refunds will be offered via travel agencies through which the passengers made their bookings.
The company will additionally cover all costs incurred by those quarantined aboard the ship since last Tuesday, when passengers were originally scheduled to disembark at Yokohama.