Wednesday, 19 February 2020 10:21 WIB |
Australia is preparing to evacuate more than 200 of its citizens from the coronavirus-hit cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, in Yokohama, Japan. The Diamond Princess has been in quarantine since February 3. Onboard the cruise liner have been about 3,700 passengers and crew, including dozens of Australian tourists.
The ship has more than 450 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, including several Australians. It is the largest cluster of infections outside China, where the virus was first reported.
Australian passengers must decide Tuesday if they will take up their government's offer of an evacuation flight out of Japan. Authorities in Canberra are planning to fly them home on Wednesday. They will all go into isolation for 14 days, in addition to the time they have already spent confined on the Diamond Princess.
In a recorded message to passengers, Australia™s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said such precautions were essential. œThere is evidence of ongoing further infections in the ship, in the crew and in some passengers. Even though we think some of you probably have been well quarantined there is uncertainty about whether some of you may be incubating the virus, and if you came back into the Australian community you may expose your family or other members of the community to this infection, Murphy said.
Two planes carrying hundreds of U.S. citizens from the cruise ship in Japan have arrived back home, and will face 14 days in isolation. However, some American travelers have refused to be evacuated, preferring to wait until the ship™s official quarantine comes to an end on February 19.
Source : VOA