- On Tuesday, the Japanese health minister confirmed 39 new cases of COVID-19 contamination.
- More than 1,000 employees remain on the ship and are complaining about not having the same protections provided for the ship's passengers.
- On Sunday, quarantine was lifted on the World Dream cruise ship.
In merely four days, the number of people infected with the new coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess ship has more than doubled. The number of people infected by the outbreak has skyrocketed from 64 to 174. For over a week now, 3,600 people have been quarantined on board the ship, a measure enacted by the Japanese government to prevent further infections in the country. The Diamond Princess ship is docked in Yokohama, and the quarantine period is scheduled to end on February 19th.
On Tuesday, the Japanese health minister confirmed 39 new cases of COVID-19 contamination— the new official name adopted by the World Health Organization for the virus. One of the health officials responsible for managing this quarantine was one of the newly infected. Of the 174 cases registered in the Diamond Princess, ten are of crew members. In addition to the passengers— the most visible face of this crisis— 1,035 employees remain on the ship and are complaining about not having the same protections provided for the ship’s passengers.
A cook spoke to The Washington Post, arguing that the isolation to which passengers are subjected should also be applied to the crew. “Why are they not segregating us? Are we not part of the ship,” he asks. The cook however chose to remain anonymous in the American newspaper article for fear of reprisals. The cook says that he gets up at 6:15 AM and cooks the meals all day that are delivered in the compartments where passengers are isolated.
Contrary to what happens to passengers, crew members eat in the same space, use the same dishes and share bathrooms. “Five waiters have already tested positive. How can we not be infected,” he wonders. Although the quarantine applied to passengers lasts another week, it is not known whether the crew will also be placed in isolation after February 19th.
The crew’s despair is shared by passengers. Trapped in the cabins and with little space to exercise, they are prevented from living with the other traveling companions, which, on certain occasions, means being away from family members. Medical teams try to control patients with symptoms as much as possible, in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 inside the vessel.
On Wednesday, Hubei province officials revealed that 97 more people died in mainland China in 24 hours and that 2,015 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus were registered. Most deaths and infections have been reported in China. In the country alone, COVID-19 has so far caused more than 1,110 deaths and 44,000 infections, according to data from Chinese authorities and the World Health Organization.
On Sunday, quarantine was lifted on the World Dream cruise ship, after tests on more than 1,800 passengers did not detect any people infected with the virus that originated in China. Eight passengers had been infected by the virus, but the spread was successfully contained by the authorities.