Australian passengers trapped on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship could face a long period in quarantine upon their return to the country to ensure they are free of the deadly coronavirus.
After more than two weeks stuck in their cabins on board the ship, which is docked off the Japanese port city of Yokohama, American passengers had been told in an email that they could face another 14 days in lockdown upon return home.
Australia was considered likely to enforce quarantine for its citizens who are evacuated from the ship, with a decision to be made later Monday.
The number of infected passengers continues to grow, with an additional 70 cases reported on Monday, taking the total to 356.
Frustration was growing among passengers as their bills began to mount while their ability to get back to normal life faced further delay.
American passengers trapped on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship (pictured) which was struck down with the deadly coronavirus have been left fuming after receiving an email detailing their evacuation plan
After more than two weeks stuck in their cabins on board the ship, which is docked off the Japanese port city of Yokohama, American passengers (pictured being escorted off the ship) were told they could face another 14 days in lock down
Medical staff wearing protective suits are seen at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal on Sunday, where the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow
‘It’s like a prison sentence for something I did not do,’ Karey Mansicalco, who owns a real estate company in Utah told CNN.
‘They are holding us hostage for absolutely no reason.’
She called the additional quarantine period ‘financially devastating’ and believes it will cost her more than $50,000.
Others have raised their concerns over the evacuation process, fearing they will be sharing flights with those who are infected.
‘The US government instead wants to take us off without testing, fly us back to the US with a bunch of other untested people, and then stick us in 2 more weeks of quarantine? How does that make any sense at all?’ American passenger Matthew Smith tweeted.
US passenger wave to reporters as they leave the Daikaku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port, next to the Diamond Princess cruise ship
An ambulance is seen at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal as thousands remain trapped in the Diamond Princess cruise ship
Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE CORONAVIRUS?
Once someone has caught the virus it may take between two and 14 days for them to show any symptoms.
If and when they do, typical signs include:
- a runny nose
- a cough
- sore throat
- fever (high temperature)
The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.
In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.
Those who choose not to board the chartered flight will have to stay in Japan for two weeks before heading home.
Australians on board the ‘nightmare ship’ are still waiting for the Morrison government to decide on a plan.
The government is awaiting a report from an Australian infectious disease expert who is in Japan assessing the situation on board the ship.
Federal cabinet minister Dan Tehan said the expert’s report would be finalised on Monday.
Mr Tehan said the government would consider placing the evacuees in quarantine on Australian soil despite the cruise ship passengers having long been in lockdown.
‘If they did have to go to quarantine there would be a facility available where they could go for two weeks,’ he said.
‘We will take the guidance from the chief medical officer as to what’s the best available action to take to keep Australians safe.’
The Australians on board must pass a coronavirus test before they can be brought home, and elderly people will be given priority in the evacuation.
An additional 70 people on board the quarantined ship have been infected with the deadly coronavirus, Japan’s Health Minister announced on Monday morning, taking the total of confirmed cases on board the ship to 356.
Those who tested positive for the virus are being treated in Japan.
Australians on board the ‘nightmare ship’ are still waiting for the Morrison government to decide on a plan
Meanwhile, more than 200 Australians who were also evacuated from Hubei province in China and who have been quarantined on Christmas Island for two weeks were due to head home on Monday.
Of the 15 coronavirus cases in Australia, six have been cleared and the remaining nine are all stable.
In China, the total number of people infected by the virus has risen to more than 68,500, with the number of deaths now at 1665.
AUSTRALIANS WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
NEW SOUTH WALES: 4
- Three men aged 43, 53, and 35 who had recently travelled to China are confirmed to have contracted the disease.
- Two flew in from Wuhan while the other arrived in Sydney from Shenzhen, south China.
- They are being treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital and are in stable condition.
- A 21-year-old woman is identified as the fourth person to test positive for the illness in NSW.
- The woman, a student at UNSW, flew into Sydney International Airport on flight MU749 on January 23 and presented to the emergency department 24 hours later after developing flu-like symptoms.
- She is being treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital.
- A Chinese national aged in his 50s becomes the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Australia.
- The man flew to Melbourne on China Southern flight CZ321 from Wuhan via Guangzhou on January 19.
- He is now in quarantined isolation at Monash Hospital in Clayton in Melbourne’s east.
- A Victorian man in his 60s is diagnosed with the coronavirus.
- He became unwell on January 23 – two days after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
- The man was confirmed as positive on January 29 and was subsequently seen by doctors at the Monash Medical Centre. He was assessed as being well enough to stay at home.
- A woman in her 40s is found to have coronavirus.
- She was visiting from China and mostly spent time with her family.
- She is being treated at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
- A woman in her 20s in Melbourne is found to have the virus
- Queensland confirms its first case after a 44-year-old Chinese national wass diagnosed with the virus.
- He is being treated at Gold Coast University Hospital.
- A 42-year-old Chinese woman who was travelling in the same Wuhan tour group as the 44-year-old man tests positive. She is in Gold Coast University Hospital in stable condition.
- An eight-year-old boy has been diagnosed coronavirus. He is also from the tour group where the other Queensland cases came from
- The case was found in a 37-year-old man, who was a member of a group of nine Chinese tourists in quarantine on the Gold Coast
- A 37-year-old woman has been diagnosed with coronavirus from the same travel group that flew to Queensland from Melbourne on January 27
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 2
- A Chinese couple in their 60s who arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan to visit relatives are confirmed to have coronavirus.
- Two Australians have been confirmed as having the virus in Wuhan itself. Australia has raised the travel alert level to ‘do not travel’ for the city of Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – and for the entire Hubei province.
- Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says unless people have contact with someone who is unwell and has come from that part of China, there is no need for current concern.
- As of February 15, 15 Australians are among 219 confirmed cases of the coronavirus contracted on board Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama.
Source: dailymail UK