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Coronavirus outbreak: Condition of 3 infected Indians on board cruise ship off Japanese coast improves

The condition of the three Indians infected with the novel coronavirus on board the quarantined cruise ship off the Japanese coast has improved and no new cases of infection among Indians have been reported, the Indian Embassy in Japan said on Saturday.

A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the quarantined ship that arrived at the Japanese coast earlier this month.

Three Indians were among the 218 people infected with COVID-19 on the ship.

“Happy to inform that health conditions of 3 Indians being treated for COVID-19 have improved and no new cases of infection of Indians on the ship,” the embassy said in a tweet. 

“@IndianEmbTokyo is in discussion with #GOJ (Government of Japan) and ship company regarding the disembarkation modalities and welfare of Indians,” it added. 

The ship was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the COVID-19 on the ship.

The embassy also sent an email to all Indian nationals on board the ship, assuring them of all help and assistance.

The Japanese government on Thursday announced that passengers aged 80 or older will be given the option to disembark the ship if they test negative for COVID-19. Those who meet the age requirement and have pre-existing conditions or are staying in rooms without balcony will be prioritised for disembarkation.

No Indian national falls under this category, eligible for early disembarkation, the statement said on Friday.

An embassy official said they are working on disembarkation of Indians.

“We have continued our efforts with all of them for early disembarkation of our nationals after the end of the quarantine period and subject to favourable results of their tests for COVID – 19,” the official was quoted as saying by PTI. 

They are also requested to follow the Japanese government’s health and quarantine protocols, the embassy said on its Facebook page.

Death toll in China crosses 1500

The death toll in China’s coronavirus outbreak has now mounted to nearly 1,523, with fresh reports coming in that corroborate 143 new fatalities, while the confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus infection jumped to over 66,000. Most of the deaths have occurred in the worst-affected Hubei province, where Wuhan city is located. The disease had originated in a seafood market in Wuhan and later spread to the rest of the world.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said it received reports of 2,641 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 143 deaths on Friday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

Among the deaths, 139 were in Hubei Province, two in Henan and one in Beijing and Chongqing respectively, the commission said.

Another 2,277 new suspected cases were reported Friday, said the commission.

Also on Friday, 849 patients became seriously ill, while 1,373 people were discharged from hospital after recovery, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Many countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights to the country.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the use of digital technology such as big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to better support epidemic monitoring and analysis, virus tracing, prevention and treatment, and resource allocation. 

(With PTI inputs)