Mumbai, Feb 14
While 138 Indians (with two confirmed cases of Novel Corona Virus) are stranded on luxury cruise liner” Diamond Princess” quarantined in the port of Yokohama in Japan, a woman security officer from Mumbai, on board the ship, has sent an SOS to Union Government urging it to rescue stranded Indians immediately.
Sonali Thakur (24) working as a security officer, speaking to a TV channel here, through video caller, stated that the situation on board the ship was fast deteriorating and if it continued, the outcome would be worst. The infection is spreading and it will soon grapple others, she said.
Sonali was placed in isolation on Monday, a week after the ship docked at Yokohoma on February 3. “We are scared that the infection is spreading so fast that we could also become one of them. We don’t want to. The situation on the cruise ship has worsened, compounded by the delay in getting results on coronavirus tests being performed on passengers.
“We want the Indian government to take us back to India and isolate us there. Or at least send some more medical staffers across to help these people with the tests. We want to go home,” she said.
Sonali said that she has already informed her friends and family in Mumbai about her situation. “They are really worried about me and want me to get back home. They are praying day and night for me, and that’s all they can do from their side. I just want to tell my parents to stay strong, stay positive. Your girl is going to be back soon.”
In all 3711 people, including 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members have been quarantined in the port of Yokohama.They include 138 Indians. The ship masters have said that the quarantine will end by 19 February, 2020, unless there are any unforeseen developments. The ship remains anchored after a passenger from Hongkong was found infected, when the ship arrived at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan.
Ten new confirmed cases were reported on Thursday, thus taking the total number of confirmed cases on board the ship to 175, at least 10 of those are crew members. Although authorities had said that they would release some passengers to shore to finish their two-week quarantine, no one is allowed to disembark, Thakur said.
The cruise line has tested over 490 of the more than 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship so far. Japanese Health Ministry has said that more tests will follow in the coming days. However passengers feel that the quarantine should end.
Existing visas, including eVisa, issued to mainland China nationals before 5 February by India have been invalidated. Passengers who have been in mainland China after 15 January are not allowed to enter with any visa into India. The state-owned carrier Air India has suspended flights to Shanghai and reduced service to Hong Kong. InterGlobe Aviation Ltd-led IndiGo has also suspended its services to Chengdu and Hong Kong.
In the meanwhile US based “Moody’s Investors Service” in its report has stated that banks will take maximum hit if Coronavirus crisis prolongs. The people will travel less and economic growth and employment conditions will weaken in these economies in general and those dependent on foreign travellers in particular.
“Whilst travel to and from mainland China accounts for less than 4% of total Asia-Pacific passengers, the financial impact on airports is larger than suggested by passenger numbers, as they typically generate substantively higher revenue from international passengers than from domestic ones,”, the report stated.
“If the outbreak of the coronavirus intensifies and the disruptions stemming from it are not contained in the next few months, it will hurt the asset quality and profitability of banks in the Asia-Pacific region. Banks will face credit losses from exposures to weaker companies. Factory closures in China will disrupt supply chains, particularly in electronics and automotive sectors, which are already impacted by it.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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