Civil ministries in Japan, in collaboration with messaging app Line, have distributed over 2,000 iPhones for free to passengers and crew members aboard Coronavirus-hit cruise ship, Diamond Princess. The ship, which is presently in quarantine and docked at Japan's Yokohama port, was rocked by the Coronavirus outbreak after nearly 350 individuals onboard tested positive for the deadly virus. In a bid to help those onboard, three ministries in Japan — the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Ministry of Private Affairs and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, have joined hands with communications app Line, to distribute the iPhones.
Reports with knowledge of the matter state that at least one iPhone has been furbished for every cabin on the ship, for both passengers and crew members. The Line app, which is being used to let patients easily reach out to medical and mental health experts, may not have been available for download on iPhones and Android phones initiated abroad. As a result, the devices have been distributed among those stuck in quarantine. The reports further state that volunteers have distributed manuals along with the phones, which provide details regarding how the users can access help through the app. Services reportedly on offer include booking medical appointments, send requests for prescription drugs and discuss mental trauma from being stuck in quarantine in a ship with a viral outbreak.
The Coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China has taken the highest toll on China, but has since spread out to other nations in the world as well, albeit in relatively limited numbers. The devices that are being distributed will reportedly be used to also offer news and updates regarding the condition of the viral outbreak. The Yokohama port is known to be a major quarantine zone in China, with over 3,700 suspected cases harboured. The Diamond Princess cruise ship is slated to remain at the port until at least February 19, following which a decision will be taken depending on the condition of the patients and the crew.