An aerial view of cruise ship Diamond Princess, docked at port Yokohama in Japan on February 6.(Reuters Photo)
An aerial view of cruise ship Diamond Princess, docked at port Yokohama in Japan on February 6.(Reuters Photo)

‘Please rescue us’: Indian crew member sends message from coronavirus-hit quarantined ship

Hindustan Times, Kolkata | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON FEB 08, 2020 09:55 AM IST

The Indians onboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess which has been quarantined off Japan due to the coronavirus outbreak, have appealed to the government to rescue them.

“We are in a grave, dangerous situation. Yesterday, 21 passengers tested positive for coronavirus. Today, the number went up to 62. As many as 41 passengers and two were quarantined just now. There are 160 Indians among the crew members. Panic over coronavirus is growing,” one of the crew members Binay Kumar Sarkar said in a Facebook video.

“All we want from the Indian government is that we are taken out and kept at an isolated place. Family members are worried. We are scared. We just want to disembark somehow. Please help us,” Sarkar further said in the 1 minute 46 seconds video clip posted on Friday evening.

Sarkar is a resident of Hatipa village in Kanki area, in the North Dinajpur district.

After his post was shared on social media several hundred times, West Bengal’s disaster management minister Rajib Banerjee said that the state government was ready to do whatever it could to help the person. “We will speak to the Japanese consulate in Kolkata to see if anything can be done.”

The Diamond Princess was placed on a two-week quarantine on arriving at Yokohama on Monday after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.

“The quarantine end date will be February 19, unless there are any other unforeseen developments. The Japanese government is also providing our ship and team members additional manpower support,” Princess Cruises, the company that owns Diamond Princess, said in a statement on Thursday.

On February 4, when its passengers were tested positive for coronavirus infection, the cruise had 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members on board.

In his first video post on February 6, Sarkar had said that on February 4, eight passengers and two crew members tested positive for coronavirus and were quarantined. But the next day, 11 more people tested positive. On February 6, another 41 people tested positive.

“I was supposed to go home on February 17 but right now, there is no information on when I can go,” he had said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had on Friday that none of the Indians on board have tested positive for the virus. “Many Indian crew & some Indian passengers are onboard the cruise ship #DiamondPrincess quarantined off Japan due to #Coronavirus. None have tested positive, as per the latest information provided by our Embassy @IndianEmbTokyo. We are closely following the developments,” he had said on Twitter.

The new coronavirus that emerged in a Chinese market at the end of last year has killed more than 630 people and spread around the world. The latest figures from China show there are over 30,000 people infected in the country.

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