Coronavirus Infections Aboard Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
The number of people contracting infection on the vessel kept on increasing until experts began questioning the wisdom of Japan’s quarantine strategy. A big reason for concern is that the space on a cruise ship is enclosed. Crew members were at higher risk of infection and spreading the virus. Passengers stayed in their cabins, but crew members interact with passengers when serving them at living or working spaces. The 542 people that tested positive for coronavirus are approximately 15% of those on board.
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Why did quarantine fail?
The diamond princess became a fertile ground for the Covid-19 virus to breed. Kentaro Iwata, an infectious diseases expert, sent onboard by the Japanese government before allowing dismemberment of passengers, claims the ship was inadequate. The crew did not create a distinction between red and green zones. The red zone is set aside for those who show signs of virus contamination. Iwata was on the ship as a member of the disaster medical assistance team.
Iwata also noted numerous lapses in the infection control measures. It is not all crew members who wore full protective gear, yet they were walking around the ship. A lack of protective clothing and movement increased risk of carrying contamination to different parts. People, according to Iwata, were eating while wearing their medical gloves and handling a phone while in their protective suits. It meant that they are transferring the virus to their mouths, phones, and other surfaces that they will handle later without protective gear.
Japanese vice Minister of Health Gauku Hashimoto disputes views by Iwata, terming them a misconception that it is amateurs rather than professional specialists who worked on the ship to prevent infections.
Dr. Antony Fauci, a director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes that quarantine on a ship was not unreasonable, but it failed. His reasoning is that virus transmission went on during quarantine. An executive director at World Health Organization Dr. Michael Ryan added that cruise ships are one of the environments that can accelerate the spread of a virus. He hopes that the Japanese authorities will follow up on the people who appropriately disembark from Diamond Princess.
The process of disembarking from the cruise ship involved a test before leaving the ship.Those onboard take the temperature and undergo a fever scan. Disaster medical assistance members also look out for other signs of infection like breathing difficulties and cough. They took saliva samples during screening.
Japanese nationals leave their contact information with the authorities. A clearance from the ship does not guarantee acceptance to board a plane when Non-Japanese citizens plan to fly home. Several countries, like the USA and Korea, decided to charter planes that will fly citizens home.
A high coronavirus infection on the diamond princess cruise ship is a reason enough for shipping companies to organize thorough screening before passengers board their vessels.