Locked in a coronavirus breeding ground: Cruise quarantine put hundreds of vulnerable people in the perfect environment for contamination and left the ship with more cases than the whole world outside China

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
By Paul Martin

At least 542 people on the cruise ship have now been diagnosed with the virus, called SARS-CoV-2
There are more patients from the ship than all countries combined without China, figures have revealed
Countries, including the US and UK, are beginning to evacuate their citizens after the ‘failed’ quarantine
The virus has now infected more than 73,000 people, most in China, and killed 1,873

18 February 2020

The ‘failed’ two-week cruise ship quarantine on the Diamond Princess has trapped hundreds of tourists in an ideal breeding ground for the killer coronavirus, leading experts have warned today.

Scientists have lined up to resign Japan’s efforts to failure after another 88 people on the giant vessel tested positive today, bringing the total number of infected passengers to 542.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship has now had more cases of coronavirus confirmed than all the countries outside of China combined (443). Third placed is Singapore, which has had 77 cases of SARS-CoV-2.

Disease experts said the ship had now become a ‘source of infection’ rather than a safe haven and that keeping all the passengers on board had made the disease spread more rather than stopping it.

The new cases include British couple David and Sally Abel, whose son Steve today lashed out at the British government for its handling of the situation. They have been taken into quarantine on the mainland.

People who are deemed healthy from tomorrow – Japanese authorities will test them for the virus – will be allowed to leave the ship, but must either go into quarantine in Japan or get taken home by their own government.

Because of their diagnoses today, the Abels will be unable to join the UK’s evacuation flight – the British government has sparked anger over its failure to guarantee a ride home for any holidaymakers trapped in the ordeal. Steve Abel said the Foreign Office’s treatment of his parents had been ‘appalling’.

Around 340 US citizens have already been evacuated from the Diamond Princess, with two planes picking them up from nearby Tokyo over the weekend. They will spend two weeks in quarantine on military bases in California and Texas after 14 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus during the bus ride to the airport.

In other developments to the cruise ship crisis today:

Japan’s health minister said today that the process of disembarking will take two to three days with no more than 500 expected to leave tomorrow
Most, if not all, of the people on board the ship are expected to face longer periods of quarantine after they get off the ship to make sure they are not infected
One expert at the New York University School of Medicine said boats were ‘notorious places for being incubators for viruses’ as he blasted Japan’s failure to take the passengers off the ship from the start
There are still more than 3,000 people on the ship – both crew and holidaymakers – who come from countries around the world
The total number of people infected with the coronavirus has risen to more than 73,000 and 1,873 have died

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