Mumbai Feb 22
One more Indian aboard a quarantined cruise ship “Diamond Princess” off Japan was tested positive for the novel coronavirus and shifted to hospital, taking the number of Indian nationals infected with the virus on the vessel to eight, the Indian embassy said.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship arrived in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on February 3 with 3,711 passengers and crew on board, 621 people were found to be infected with the deadly coronavirus after it was diagnosed in a man who disembarked last month in Hong Kong.
There are total of 138 Indians on the ship, including 132 crew and 6 passengers. Affected eight Indians have been shifted to hospital and till now 443 passengers have been allowed to go after they tested negative.
The Union External affairs ministry has clarified that there is no blanket ban on the people travelling to China and the Government of India is in close contact with Japanese Government to ensure the release of Indian passengers on board “Diamond Princess”.
In the meanwhile Asian airlines are set to lose an estimated revenue of about Rs two lakh crore due to fall in service nearly by 8 per cent following suspension of flights to China, after the outbreak of coronavirus. This is for the first time the Asian service is witnessing the fall in passenger traffic after 2008, when the services were hit due to fuel crisis and resultant soaring prices.
Asian hub carriers Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines have cut capacity across their global networks as they look to manage the crisis. Many airlines including Air India and Indigo have temporarily suspended/curtailed flights to China. Overall the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region to fall by 8.2 percent this year. Many other IATA has based its estimates on a scenario where COVID-19 shows a similar V-shaped effect on demand that happened during SARS, when the industry saw a six-month period with a sharp decline followed by an equally quick recovery. In 2003, SARS resulted in a 5.1 percent fall in the revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) carried by Asia-Pacific airlines.
An assessment by IATA shows the potential for a 13-percent full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region. Considering an original growth forecast for the region of 4.8 percent, Asia-Pacific airlines will experience an 8.2 percent full-year contraction compared with 2019 demand levels. The carriers registered in China would bear the bulk of the losses.
Under the same scenario, carriers outside Asia-Pacific would bear a revenue loss of $1.5 billion. That would bring total global lost revenue to $29.3 billion. In December, IATA had forecast global RPK growth of 4.1 percent.
Chinese airlines have cut 80 percent of their planned capacity to, from and within China, as they grapple with a sharp fall in demand due to the virus that has killed more than 2,100 people in China.
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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