An unspecified number of Indians were among the nearly 3,000 passengers and crew members on board a cruise ship quarantined off Japan due to diagnosis of coronavirus cases, the Indian Embassy in Tokyo said on Monday.
Cruise ship Diamond Princess, carrying 3,711 people, arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the novel virus on the ship.
Around 60 people tested positive of the virus on Monday, taking the total number of those infected on the ship to 130.
Authorities had initially tested nearly 300 people when the ship arrived at the Japanese coast.
Indian Embassy in Tokyo on Monday tweeted the information about the Indians on the ship.
'Many Indian crew & some Indian passengers are on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined off Japan due to Coronavirus (nCoV),' it tweeted, without giving a specific number of Indians on the ship.
'In this context, any query please contact First Secretary (Consular) @IndianEmbTokyo at email@example.com @CPVIndia @MEAIndia @PMOIndia,' it said.
Those on the ship have been asked to wear masks and allowed limited access to the open decks as they are advised to remain in the cabins most of the times to contain the spread of the virus, according to media reports.
Quoting an Indian crew member, identified as Binay Kumar Sarkar, on board Diamond Express, NDTV news channel said there are 160 Indian crew members and eight Indian passengers on the ship.
Sarkar, in a video recorded from the ship, appealed to the Indian government and the United Nations to segregate the Indians on board on urgent basis.
'None of them have been checked (for coronavirus),' Sarkar, a chef from Bengal, said in Hindi.
He was flanked by five of his Indians colleagues who were wearing masks.
'Please somehow save us as soon as possible. What's the point if something happens (to us)...I want to request the government of India and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi-ji, please segregate us and bring us back home safely,' he said.
According to an AFP report, people on board the ship are facing difficulty due to the quarantine measures, particularly those in windowless interior cabins and others who require medication for various chronic conditions.
The Japanese health ministry said on Monday that around 600 people on board urgently needed medication, and around half received supplies over the weekend, it said.
Meanwhile, the operator of the ship on Monday vowed to refund all 2,666 passengers due to the onboard outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Carnival Japan Inc., the Japanese branch of Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., which operates the ship, said refunds will be offered via travel agencies through which the passengers made their bookings.
The company will additionally cover all costs incurred by those quarantined aboard the ship since last Tuesday, when passengers were originally scheduled to disembark at Yokohama.
'We hope this will help ease our guests' stress even just a little bit,' a company official was quoted as saying by The Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
The death toll in the coronavirus outbreak in China has gone up to 908 with 97 new fatalities reported mostly in the worst-affected Hubei province and the confirmed cases of infection crossing 40,000.
The coronavirus outbreak originated in central China's Hubei province in December last year.