“Please save us”, Indian crew of ‘Diamond Princess’ make appeal to PM

Hyderabad: Indian crew members on the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess have issued an urgent appeal to the government of India to rescue them even as reports emerged that 60 odd more passengers on board the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday. This takes the total number of coronavirus positives on the ship to nearly 140.

In a video shared on Monday, Binay Kumar Sarkar, a crew member who first took to Facebook days ago explaining the fear that has gripped people on the ship, said, “We are very scared. There are more than 60 positive cases today but an official announcement of how many of these are passengers and how many are crew is yet to be made.”

In a video that also showed some of the other Indian crew members on the ship, he said, “I appeal to the prime minister of India to intervene. Urgent segregation is needed of those who are healthy.”

He told via a phone message, “Please save us. Life is more important than a job.

“What is the use of coming to our rescue after things get out of hand,” he asked in the video.

The first secretary in the consular division of the Indian embassy in Tokyo told Deccan Chronicle on Monday that there are no Indians among the 70 passengers who tested positive till Sunday.

“Today there are some more cases and we are yet to know their identity. We are in touch with the Indians on board through the Foreign Ministry and the Japanese Health Ministry. Some of the passengers are in touch with us directly through email,” the official said.

Reports in the Japanese media, quoting that country’s health minister Katsunobu Kato, said the government was considering testing all crew members and passengers on the vessel.

The ship has about 3,700 passengers and crew.

“So far only 500 people have been tested,” crew member Sarkar said. “Right now, only those who are reporting more than 37.5 degrees C of body temperature are being tested. There are 160 Indians among the crew along with 8 Indian passengers,” he said in the video.

Meanwhile, in an update, Princess Cruises, the company that operated Diamond Princess,  confirmed an additional 66 cases of coronavirus cases as tested by the Japanese Ministry of Health. These cases are from Australia (4), Canada (1), England (1), Japan (45), Philippines (3), Ukraine (1) and USA (11).

“We are following guidance from the Japan Ministry of Health on plans for disembarkation protocols to provide medical care for these new cases. Since it is early in the quarantine period of 14-days, it was not unexpected that additional cases would be reported involving individuals who were exposed prior to the start of the quarantine,” the company said.

The Japan Ministry of Health has been the lead public health authority defining the testing protocols for all guests and crew on Diamond Princess, the company said.

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