Health minister: Two Malaysians on Diamond Princess down with Covid-19 to be treated in Japan till cured

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Personnel clad in protective gear and tasked to provide care for suspected patients on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship prepare to conduct a transfer at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama on February 7, 2020. — Reuters pic

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 18 — Two Malaysians who tested positive for the Covid-19 virus while on board the Diamond Princess cruise liner will remain under surveillance and be treated by Japanese health officials until they are fully recovered, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.

He said the two Malaysians were among some 454 other passengers on board the ship who caught the virus, all of whom would be taken care of by Japanese authorities.

He also confirmed that there were only four Malaysians on board the cruise ship, all of whom have since been accounted for.

“Because they are within the jurisdiction of Japan, we allow for them to be treated there, which is the usual protocol and SOP,” he told reporters here in an update of the latest health situation following the Covid-19 outbreak worldwide.

“[They will remain under treatment there] until, as we are practicing here, until they have fully recovered,” he said, without elaborating.

The remaining two Malaysians are still awaiting their test results, as announced by Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah this morning.

Dr Noor Hisham said the infected duo were already placed in isolation and are being monitored by the Japanese officials.

Yesterday, Japan’s Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry revealed that a total of 454 passengers on board the Diamond Princess had tested positive for Covid-19.

The ship, which was on a 16-day cruise including stops in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam, had made port in Yokohama Bay, Japan and has been quarantined by the authorities there due to the widespread infection on the luxury liner.

On February 16, the ministry had tested 1,219 people out of the 3,700 passengers and crews from more than 50 countries.

A total of 2,666 passengers, including those staying in small, windowless rooms, were asked to stay inside their compartments to prevent transmission during the quarantine period.


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