Tokyo: Another Indian aboard a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was shifted to a hospital on Wednesday, said the Indian Embassy. This takes to seven the total number of Indian nationals infected with the virus on the vessel.
The embassy in Tokyo said their condition is improving.
As of 2100 JST, altogether 7 Indian nationals (crew members on board #DiamondPrincess) are receiving treatment in hospitals in Japan, after testing positive for #COVID19 over last few days. Their health conditions are improving. @MEAIndia— India in Japanインド大使館 (@IndianEmbTokyo) February 19, 2020
Among the 3,711 passengers and crew aboard the ship, 621 were found to be infected with the new coronavirus as of Wednesday.
On Tuesday, 88 people tested positive and a day earlier, 99 were found to have been infected.
In a tweet, the Indian Embassy in Tokyo said, "1 Indian crew who tested positive for COVID19 among 88 new cases on Diamond Princess shifted to hospital for treatment." Six Indians had earlier tested positive for COVID-19.
A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and six passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the ship that docked at the Japanese coast earlier this month. It was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the COVID-19.
Meanwhile, passengers started leaving the ship on Wednesday after the end of a two-week quarantine that failed to stop the spread of the virus among passengers and crew.
"About 500 passengers were expected to leave on Wednesday and Japanese officials will spend several days staging the high-stakes evacuation of about 2,000 others," reported the Japan Today newspaper. Crew members are expected to stay on the ship, it added.
The Indian Embassy earlier said it was making efforts to de-board all Indians from the ship after the end of the quarantine period and was in discussions with the Japanese government and the ship management company for the disembarkation modalities and the welfare of its nationals. The US on Monday evacuated its 340 nationals from the ship and they are now in quarantine for another 14 days.
China, where the coronavirus outbreak occurred, is grappling to contain the deadly disease as the fatalities crossed the 2,000-mark on Wednesday, with the death of 136 more people, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei province. The outbreak originated in China's Hubei province in December and spread to more than 25 countries, including India. Many countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights to the country.
(With inputs from agencies)