A cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan has become an ‘incubator’ for the deadly coronavirus, say scientists. The attempt to quarantine thousands of people in a confined space has failed dramatically, with the total number of infected passengers reaching 542.
Dr. Nathalie MacDermott, outbreak expert at King’s College London said:
Obviously the quarantine hasn’t worked, and this ship has now become a source of infection.
The ship now accounts for more than half the world’s coronavirus victims outside of China.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship was docked near Yokohama on February 4th after a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus, which has now been revealed as 20x more deadly than the flu. A two-week quarantine period was enforced in an attempt to contain the outbreak. Instead, it appears to have become a petri dish of infection.
Dr. Paul Hunter, University of East Anglia, UK stated:
I suspect people were not as isolated from other people as we would have thought.
Passengers were confined to their cabins and instructed not to interact with others. Those without windows were allowed an hour to walk around on deck before going back into their quarantined rooms. Food was brought to their rooms by staff wearing protective gear.
A British man David Abel, aged 74, and his wife have been uploading videos to document their time onboard, describing it as ‘hell on earth’. The pair revealed they too had tested positive for the virus this morning. Writing in a Facebook past, Abel wrote:
There is going to be a time of quiet. We have been proved positive and leaving for hospital soon.
Abel and his wife have criticised the British government for not doing more to help them. Meanwhile, the U.S. evacuated 328 passengers over the weekend. 14 had confirmed cases of coronavirus, leading many to question the evacuation.
No one on here has had their temperature taken by the federal government, or any government for that matter. So we’re all sitting in really close, tight quarters. Everyone’s sitting next to each other. I have a girl sitting here in just a minute. It seems dangerous – Karey Maniscalco, one of the US evacuees.
Health experts have urged authorities to consider an additional 14 day quarantine period for everyone onboard after they disembark.
Dr. Paul Hunter said:
Given how the virus has continued to spread, we have to presume everyone leaving the ship is potentially infected, and therefore they have to go through another two-week quarantine period … Not to do so would be reckless.
Meanwhile, as much as half the Chinese population remains on lockdown or curfew in a bid to contain the outbreak. Time-lapse footage shows a dramatic reduction in the number of internal flights across the country, suggesting that economic activity has slumped. Even the stock markets took a hit as Apple confirmed the coronavirus outbreak would reduce its revenue.
The total number of infected persons now stands at 73,325 with the death toll at 1,873.
Last modified: June 24, 2020 1:04 AM UTC