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Over 200 Indians Stuck on Quarantined Japan Ship, Says Bengal Man in SOS Amid Coronavirus Fears

Medical workers in protective suits talk togther on the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored off Yokohama, south of Tokyo. (Image: AP)

Medical workers in protective suits talk togther on the cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored off Yokohama, south of Tokyo. (Image: AP)

The 30-year-old also asked the authorities to rescue Indian citizens from Japan just as they rescued those stuck in China’s Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus.

More than 200 Indians, both passengers and crew members, are among the 3,700-plus people who are onboard the luxury cruise currently quarantined near Yokohama port in Japan, with 64 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

While no Indian has so far tested positive for the deadly virus, panic is on the rise. On Friday, a West Bengal man on board the ship posted SOS messages on social media, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to ask the Japanese government to keep those infected separately from the uninfected onboard the ship.

The 30-year-old also asked the authorities to rescue Indian citizens from Japan just as they rescued those stuck in China’s Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus.

The Indian Express reported that in one of his social media posts the West Bengal resident said there are nearly 200 Indians onboard. He said while none of them have tested positive so far, they are living in a constant state of fear.

He said speaking directly on social media amounts to breaking the protocol but he was doing so because he was scared. “If I do not speak out, tomorrow I don’t know if I will be alive or dead,” he said in Hindi.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said the developments of the cruise ship are being monitored closely. “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,” he said.

Japanese authorities have so far tested about 280 people on board the Diamond Princess. Test results from six more people were released on Saturday, with three of them confirmed infected, the health ministry said without giving further details such as their nationalities.

The three people have already been sent to hospital, the ministry said in a statement.

There were more than 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship when it arrived off Japan's coast on Monday evening. It docked in Yokohama on Thursday to resupply for a quarantine that could last until February 19.

One of those found infected is in serious condition. Many on board are elderly and at greater risk of developing complications from the virus.

Testing was initially carried out on those who displayed symptoms or had come into close contact with the former passenger diagnosed.

first published:February 08, 2020, 10:41 IST