Tokyo: Two more Indians on board a quarantined cruise ship off Japan have tested positive for novel coronavirus. This came even as the Indian government has promised all possible assistance to its nationals on the ship to return home after they test negative in the final coronavirus tests to begin on Monday, the Indian Embassy said on Sunday.
A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and six passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the Diamond Princess that arrived at the Japanese coast earlier this month. The total number of people infected with COVID-19 on the ship rose to 355 on Sunday.
"Over the last two days, 137 new cases on Diamond Princess tested positive for COVID-19, including two Indian nationals, taken to onshore medical facilities for treatment," the embassy said in a tweet. "Three other Indian crew members, receiving treatment are responding well, with no fever or pain."
Three Indian crew members had earlier tested positive for the virus and are receiving treatment, with the embassy on Saturday saying their condition is improving.
The embassy said the final tests for the COVID-19 on the ship will begin on February 17 and continue over multiple days.
"Hoping our Indian nationals — braving the situation, to test negative, allowing them to travel back home. The Indian Embassy in Tokyo stands ready for all possible assistance," it added.
The embassy said it was making efforts for early de-boarding of 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 welfare of Indians.
The ship was quarantined after a passenger, who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong, was found to be the carrier of the COVID-19 on the ship.
The embassy has also sent an email to all Indian nationals on board, assuring them of all help and assistance. They are also requested to follow the Japanese government's health and quarantine protocols, the embassy said on its Facebook page.
The Japanese government on Thursday said passengers aged 80 or older will be given the option to disembark if they test negative for COVID-19. Those who meet the age requirement and have pre-existing conditions or are staying in rooms without balconies will be prioritised for disembarkation.
No Indian national falls under this category, eligible for early disembarkation, a statement issued earlier said.
Earlier on Sunday, all 406 people housed at an ITBP quarantine facility in New Delhi tested negative for the virus in the latest sample examination and will be discharged in a phased manner beginning Monday, officials said. The people were quarantined after being brought back from Wuhan.
The death toll from China's coronavirus epidemic climbed to 1,665 after 142 more people died, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei Province, and the confirmed cases jumped to 68,500, officials said on Sunday.
The outbreak originated in central China's Hubei province last December and has spread to several countries, including India. Many nations have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights to the country.