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Kentaro Iwata, The doctor of Kobe University Hospital: “I would not be surprised if they spread infections” —mass disembarking from Diamond Princess cruise ship

Alexander Alexeenko - 20.02.20

Coronavirus quarantine is over, passengers went to the port city of Yokohama and beyond. Health experts are deeply concerned. Hundreds of passengers left the cruise ship that suffered from the coronavirus on Wednesday after receiving full permission from the Japanese authorities. The feet of the passengers finally touched the solid ground for the first time in several weeks.


Taxi drivers, who usually flocked to meet arriving cruises, were in short supply. There were yellow city buses to transport passengers to airports and train stations, but their drivers were blocked by plastic wrap and tape. Even the workers, just strolling through the terminal, were in protective hazmat suits.


Perhaps this is not surprising: on the very day that 443 passengers were released into the port city and beyond, the number of confirmed infections on the Diamond Princess rose again, to 621 and new 79 cases were detected. And on Thursday morning another wave of passengers left the cruise ship, authorities announced the first deaths among those who had a positive result, men and women over the age of 80.

The day before the start of the mass disembarkation, a Japanese specialist in infectious diseases visited a cruise ship. He gave an amazing assessment of what he saw: "Completely chaotic." But external health experts expressed deep concern about how well Japan managed the outbreak. On Tuesday, the United States ordered US citizens on board not to return home for at least two weeks, "to protect the health of the American public." In recent days, some of the Diamond Princess passengers who have been repatriated and quarantined have begun to test positive for the virus.

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