JAKARTA: Three Indonesian crew members quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise liner off Japan’s coast have tested positive for COVID-19, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Tuesday (Feb 18).
“According to my last communication with the Japanese ambassador in Jakarta, we have obtained information that three of the 78 Indonesian crew members aboard the cruise ship were declared confirmed (for COVID-19),” she was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.
Two of them have been taken to a hospital in Chiba. Another was waiting to be taken to a medical facility as of noon on Tuesday.
The minister added that staff from the Indonesian embassy in Tokyo have departed for Chiba, to ensure that the Indonesian citizens receive proper treatment.
Families of the three Indonesian patients have been notified, she said.
The vessel, owned by Carnival Corp, has been quarantined since arriving in Yokohama on Feb 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong before it travelled to Japan was diagnosed with the virus. There were more than 3,600 people on board.
With more than 450 infected cases, Diamond Princess has the largest cluster of cases outside China.
Last Sunday, the United States evacuated about 400 citizens from the Diamond Princess.
Australia, Canada, Italy, South Korea and Hong Kong have also announced plans to repatriate passengers.
ALL INDONESIAN CITIZENS WORKING ABOARD MS WESTERDAM ARE HEALTHY
Separately, Mdm Marsudi said on Monday that all 362 Indonesian citizens working aboard the MS Westerdam cruise liner currently docked in Cambodia are healthy.
This came after reports that an American tourist who entered Malaysia after disembarking from the vessel had tested positive for COVID-19.
Mdm Marsudi was quoted as saying by Jakarta Post: “Indonesians account for most of the crew members on the ship. When the ship anchored, they have been confirmed to be in a healthy condition.”
The minister said 27 Indonesian citizens have returned to Indonesia as their work contracts had expired.
Initially, 60 Indonesian citizens were scheduled to return to Indonesia after their contracts ended. However, some of them later extended their contracts, leaving only 27 returnees to Indonesia.
Mdm Marsudi said that those who returned to Indonesia were in good health when they arrived in the country.
“When they arrived, they were all checked by a team from the Health Ministry,” she said, according to the Jakarta Post report.
There has been no reported case of COVID-19 in Indonesia.
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MS Westerdam was carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members. It was turned away by five countries before finally permitted to dock at the Cambodian port city of Sihanoukville last week.
The Cambodian decision was praised by World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as an example of "international solidarity".
However, Putrajaya said at the weekend that an American woman, who flew to Malaysia together with more than 140 people after disembarkation was found to be symptomatic upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
She was referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital for further checks and tested positive for COVID-19 last Saturday.
On Sunday, the Malaysian government announced that all cruises originating from or had previously visited China will not be allowed to enter Malaysia.
Singapore’s Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said on Monday that two Singaporean passengers who were on board the MS Westerdam are being quarantined in a Government Quarantine Facility.