The decision has been made to evacuate the American passengers from the Diamond Princess.
Earlier this month, Vox had reported that several passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship were infected with the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus or Covid-19 is an illness the emerged from Wuhan, one of the more industrial parts of China located in the Hubei province. The disease originated from the animals in the area and causes the hosts of the virus to have pneumonia like symptoms.
According to official reports, thousands of passengers and crew members onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship were at risk. While the cruise ship was docked in Japan’s harbor for nearly 13 days, an estimated total of 454 individuals had been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, 14 allegedly from the United States.
The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci, didn’t think it was unreasonable to hold the passengers in quarantine and that the two choices at his fingertips was “should these people stay in Japan, or should they be flown home?”
The tipping point for everyone involved is that several more cases were reported on the ship daily, while the quarantine was being followed. To break it all down, the virus was still spreading.
“The quarantine process failed,” Fauci continued. “I mean, I’d like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed. People were getting infected on that ship. Something went awry in the process of the quarantining on that ship. I don’t know what it was, but a lot of people got infected on that ship.”
Passengers on the ship were instructed to stay in their suites or cabins during the quarantine.
Those in interior cabins with no window or outdoor access were able to go on deck for up to an hour-and-a-half, but had to stay at least a meter from fellow passengers, Matt Smith, a family law attorney from Sacramento, California, told USA TODAY a few days into the quarantine. Meals were dropped off at the door by the ship’s crew.
The crew also distributed masks and thermometers, as passengers were asked to take their temperatures and report readings above 99.5℉ (37.5℃), Smith said. Common coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.” [USA Today]
The decision to bring back the American passengers was coordinated between The State Department, Department of health and Human Services and other agencies. This was a rather tough decision that was made even more difficult after 14 more passengers were confirmed to have the Covid-19 virus.
It seems like the right call was made to get those people off that ship. There were no signs that the rate of infection was going to slow down. I’m sure that tracking the error in the quarantine is going to be very difficult, if not an impossible job. Hopefully, there will be more reliable ways to contain the virus and keep it from moving to different areas.
“We think the way they are handling this is not safe,” Smith said Saturday. “They want to take hundreds of people off the ship before the quarantine here has been completed and without them ever being tested, and they want to throw them on buses together, then a plane, then force them to serve another 14-day quarantine under unknown circumstances.”” [USA Today]
The only thing I’m afraid I have to disagree with here is the fact that there is a lack of care when it comes to transporting these people back home.
The 14-day quarantine is rather necessary, but the fact that everyone isn’t being tested on there way back and separated is a pretty obvious problem. As of now, we know that the virus spreads through contact from surfaces and liquid droplets. There are 30 currently documented cases between Australia and the US.
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