Japanese Disease Expert Criticizes Diamond Princess Quarantine

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Posted: February 19, 2020

Infectious disease experts are speaking out about the Diamond Princess coronavirus quarantine, which authorities ordered as of February 3. Passengers were held aboard the ship until February 19 on fears that the ship was a hotbed for coronavirus. Those suspicions turned out to be a self-fulling prophecy, as the cooped-up passengers seemingly passed the virus to each other, eventually spreading from 10 people to over 600. 

NPR.org reports that nearly 621 passengers contracted coronavirus as the Diamond Princess sat off the coast of Yokohama, Japan. The report says that experts have heavily criticized the quarantine, which was seemingly unable to stop the spread of the virus among the ship’s passengers and crew members. 

The NPR report cites infectious disease expert Kentaro Iwata of Kobe University who posted a video about the quarantine. He said that, in his opinion,  "the cruise ship was completely inadequate in terms of the infection control," and that "There was no distinction between the green zone, which is free of infection, and the red zone, which is potentially contaminated by virus."

From the passengers’ perspective, the quarantine was likely an unmitigated disaster. NPR.org reports that 79 people learned that they had contracted coronavirus as they were disembarking from the ship. As the total number of cases reached well over 600, the ill represented approximately 20% of the 3,011 total passengers and crew aboard the ship.