India will provide all possible assistance to its nationals on board the quarantined cruise ship moored off the Japanese coast to return home after they test negative in the final coronavirus tests that would begin on Monday, the Indian Embassy said on Sunday.
A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the ship, Diamond Princess, that arrived at the Japanese coast earlier this month.
The total number of people infected with COVID-19 on the ship rose to 355 on Sunday. Out of them, three are Indians.
The Indian Embassy in a tweet said that the final tests for the COVID?19 on the ship would begin on February 17 and continue over multiple days.
“Hoping our Indian nationals – braving the situation, to test negative, allowing them to travel back HOME. @IndianEmbTokyo stands ready for all possible assistance,” the mission said.
On Saturday, it said that the condition of the three Indians infected with the virus was improving.
“Happy to inform that health conditions of 3 Indians being treated for COVID-19 have improved and no new cases of infection of Indians on the ship,” the embassy tweeted.
The embassy said it was making efforts for early de-boarding of all the Indians from the ship after the end of the quarantine period and was in discussions with the Japanese government and the ship management company for the disembarkation modalities and welfare of Indians.
The ship was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the COVID-19 on the ship.
The embassy has also sent an email to all the Indian nationals on board the ship, assuring them of all help and assistance.
They are also requested to follow the Japanese government’s health and quarantine protocols, the embassy said on its Facebook page.
The Japanese government on Thursday announced that passengers aged 80 or older will be given the option to disembark the ship if they test negative for COVID-19.
Those who meet the age requirement and have pre-existing conditions or are staying in rooms without balcony will be prioritised for disembarkation.
No Indian national falls under this category, eligible for early disembarkation, the statement said on Friday.
The death toll from China’s coronavirus epidemic climbed to 1,665 after 142 more people died, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei Province, and the confirmed cases jumped to 68,500, officials said on Sunday.
More than 580 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China and three deaths, one each in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan.
The coronavirus outbreak originated in central China’s Hubei province in December last year and has spread to several countries, including India.
Many countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights to the country.