Sonali Thakkar, a 24-year-old security officer from Mira Road of Mumbai suburb, on board the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship, is put in isolation since Monday after she complained of a chilly and a light fever. The ship is put in quarantine on arrival in Yokohama, near Tokyo, after a passenger who disembarked midway in Hong Kong on its voyage to Japan was diagnosed with the virus, that has already claimed 1,350 lives in China. On Thursday itself, 44 additional cases of the coronavirus were confirmed on board the Diamond Princess, soaring the number of cases on the ship to 218, reports Kyodo press agency.
Thakkar, one among 138 Indians on board the ship, revealed she underwent a swab test on Wednesday and is awaiting the results. She told Mirror on Thursday, “We need extra manpower, extra doctors, in order that everyone on board is often tested quickly. Immediately we've to attend two to 3 days for the test results. I might wish to request the Indian government to appeal to Japan to separate those passengers who have tested negative for the coronavirus," she added, “The crew members are safe for now, but how long we'll be safe? The ship, which has around 3,700 people on board, has been quarantined since February 3 and therefore the number of infected people is increasing a day. The number of cases touched 218 on Thursday. My parents are worried. They keep telling me that some assistance will definitely come to assist us, but I’ve been placed in isolation, locked during a cabin, for the past three days. “ Meanwhile, back in Mumbai, Thakkar’s father Dinesh, 52, said he has been chatting with his daughter by video call a day and appealed to the govt to assist her and other Indians stranded on the ship. He said that “no proper action” has been taken thus far which people that have tested negative for the virus aren't being allowed to go away the ship.
“If the Indian government can safely bring back students who were stranded in Wuhan, why are they not brooding about the Indians on board Diamond Princess? Why there's such a delay is coordinating [with Japanese authorities] and sending help? I would like my daughter back safe and that I urge the govt to try to something,” said Dinesh Thakkar. “She isn't carrying the virus but we are scared because the infection is spreading quickly on the ship. If there are more delays, she might be infected,” frets Dinesh.
Dinesh Thakkar said his daughter started performing on cruise ships in 2018 and joined Diamond Princess, which is managed by Princess Cruise Lines and owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp, in December 2019. “I ask my daughter via video call a day. She has been quarantined during a cabin with another security officer. She can’t go anywhere, because immediately there are 218 passengers who have tested positive for the virus,” he added.
Meanwhile, in some excellent news for the three,700-odd passengers and crew of Diamond Princess, Japan said it might allow some elderly people that have tested negative for the coronavirus to disembark before schedule. Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato announced on Thursday that elderly passengers who have pre-existing conditions or are in windowless rooms would be allowed to go away ranging from Friday, instead of the originally targeted date of February 19. they're going to complete their quarantine onshore.
According to Japanese media, about 80% of the ship’s passengers are aged 60 or over, with 215 in their 80s and 11 in their 90s The ship typically features a crew of 1,100 and a passenger capacity of two 670.