Sat, Feb 15, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Virus Outbreak: Elderly cruise passenger hospitalized in Japan

‘FLOATING PRISON’:The son of the 85-year-old traveler thanked those who assisted in obtaining medical care for his sick father, who was on board a quarantined ship

Staff writer, with CNA

A passenger wearing a mask stands on the deck of the cruise ship “Diamond Princess,” as the vessel’s passengers continue to be tested for COVID-19, at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, Japan, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

An 85-year-old Taiwanese passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise liner, which is quarantined off the Japanese city of Yokohama, was yesterday admitted to a hospital in Japan after testing positive for COVID-19, his son said.

The son, who has not been identified for privacy reasons, said via a social media platform that he had been informed earlier in the day of the latest developments regarding his father.

His pleas for help were answered, the son said, thanking those who assisted in obtaining medical care for his father.

The son said in a telephone call on Tuesday to the Central News Agency that he had written to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) the previous day saying that his father was confined in a windowless cabin on the cruise ship, and had nosebleeds and was coughing blood, but had not received medical attention.

The son said that on Monday, he had also contacted Taiwanese representatives in Japan to tell them about his father.

The following day, a doctor visited his father on the ship and after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, he was taken to a hospital in Japan, the son said.

The father and son on Jan. 20 embarked on the 15-day round-trip cruise tour that set sail from Yokohama and was scheduled to return there on Tuesday last week after making port calls in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan and Okinawa, Japan.

However, on Feb. 2, an 80-year-old passenger, who had disembarked in Hong Kong, was confirmed to have the coronavirus, and the cruise liner returned to Yokohama one day ahead of schedule.

Since then, the Diamond Princess has been quarantined off Yokohama, with about 3,700 people on board, 218 of whom have tested positive for the new virus, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

The infected passengers have been taken off the ship and admitted to hospitals in Japan, while elderly people with chronic diseases on Thursday were allowed to disembark and stay in designated lodgings once they tested negative for the coronavirus, the Japanese government said.

People remaining on the ship are required to stay in their cabins until the quarantine period ends on Wednesday next week, the government said.

The son of the 85-year-old Taiwanese patient said they had no choice but to accept their fate.

“It’s not our choice to be confined to a cabin and quarantined in a way that could make us sick,” he said.

The man said he was grateful for the assistance he and his father had received from the Taiwanese representative office in Japan and the Taiwanese government, as well as the support of fellow passengers.

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