Coronavirus Outbreak on A Cruise Ship: A Horror Story
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The Pakistani news channels have been going on and on about the need to rescue Pakistanis living in the quarantine in Wuhan.
On the other hand, Japan has done something Pakistanis would never have accepted. It has completely locked down a Princess Cruise ship on its shore with thousands of passengers on board due to the risk of coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus on A Cruise Ship
Coronavirus originated in Wuhan, a province in China. There are thousands of people living in quarantine. Over 2000 people have also lost lives due to the disease. A larger amount has also recovered.
Due to the risk of the COVID-19 outbreak, many countries have taken precautions. But Japan has done something completely unprecedented.
A Princess Cruise Ship called Diamond Princess has been stopped on the shore of Japan. The ship had passengers from the US, Australia, and Canada among other countries. This ship with over 3000 passengers has been in quarantine since February 3rd.
To limit the spread of coronavirus on the cruise ship, passengers are quarantined within their rooms and only allowed on deck for 90 minutes a day. The crew brings meals and other necessities to their doors.
Princess Cruises has announced compensation for the passengers. The passengers have been quarantined for more than four weeks on the ship. The company has promised to refund their full fare and other expenses, from air travel to hotel and transportation costs.
To make the quarantine less frustrating, the cruise ship has now increased access to the Internet, movies, and games.
What is Happening to Infected People on the Cruise Ship?
Many cases of coronavirus are mild. The symptoms of coronavirus range from fever and cough to a flu-like condition. But patients can develop severe pneumonia. According to WHO, 2% of Wuhan coronavirus cases have been fatal.
Japan’s health ministry has been taking infected people with the coronavirus off the cruise ship using special sanitation measures. The infected patients are then transported to local hospitals with infectious-disease wards.
Princess Cruises will monitor the progress of guests who have contracted COVID-19 and will be offering travel assistance to these individuals upon their recovery.
The cruise ship has people from Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, and the UK.
US Embassy has been visiting people from America who are infected and admitted in a Japanese hospital. Recently the US rescued passengers and carried them in two planes. These passengers will be kept in a military facility in Texas for 14 days before the can be allowed to go home.
On the other hand, the UK has refused to rescue its passengers from the quarantined cruise ship.
Princess Cruises has confirmed that the Embassies of Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong are coordinating the collection and transport of their respective citizens via special charter flights. The passengers will be held for a further 14 days in quarantine in their respective countries.
Pakistanis under Quarantine in China
Almost 500 Pakistani students are locked in China. There have been no efforts made to extract students from China, particularly because there were no quarantine centers in Pakistan.
In the initial days of the virus outbreak, Pakistan also did not have any kits to detect coronavirus on airports. This has thankfully changed and now airport security is equipped to detect coronavirus.
4 students in China have also recovered from coronavirus.
A quarantine center has been built in Islamabad to hold the people from infected areas. There is now hope Pakistan would be able to extract Pakistanis from coronavirus epicenter.
While Pakistani media has been continuously criticizing the government for not bringing back people from China, other countries know the risk of mixing infected with the uninfected people. By quarantining a whole cruise ship, Japan has shown the strict measures needed to control the spread of a dangerous virus.
America, Canada, and the UK whose passengers are on the ship also have respected the Japenese quarantine and made no efforts to extract their citizens in the first 14 days on the cruise ship. After the incubation period, these developed countries have now started to extract their uninfected citizens, only to hold them in another 14-day quarantine.
There is much Pakistan can learn from this incident following the protocol in a virus outbreak, instead of letting emotions run free.