TOKYO: Newly released data from a Japanese research institute seems to support the government’s argument that its Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantine policy has been effective in halting corona virus infection among passengers, Japan has been blamed for its quarantine management since the virus infected more than 620 people on board and two elderly passengers died.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that the quarantine might not have been enough, But a report released by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) on Wednesday found that the onset of symptoms from confirmed COVID-19 cases peaked on Feb. 7, before dropping off to zero by Feb.15, Cases among crew had been observed to increase gradually, peaking on Feb. 13.
Based on recorded starting dates, the decline in the number of confirmed cases suggests that the quarantine intervention was effective in reducing transmission among passengers,” according to the study. Later transmission “seems to have occurred mostly within crew or passenger cabins.”
The NIID is Japan’s main infectious diseases research institute. On the ship, which has been quarantined since Feb. 3, more than 620 passengers have been contaminated, initially with some 3,700 people on board. On Thursday the health ministry confirmed two passengers had died in their 80s, the ship’s first fatalities.
The NIID report was “very reassuring,” said Kentaro Iwata, a Kobe University Hospital infectious disease specialist who had been one of the quarantine’s harshest critics. When Iwata took them down, the videos received more than a million views, stating at a press briefing on Thursday that the ship’s new data and news of strengthened controls persuaded him the government had reacted to his critique.
The U.S., Canada and other nations recalled their residents before the quarantine ended Feb. 19. Remaining passengers were released in lots and health authorities advised them to stay at home and track their condition. The health ministry must support those returning travelers, as there is still a possibility that they might experience symptoms, said Koji Wada, a professor at Tokyo’s International University of Health and Welfare.
“We can say that the quarantine was done as planned,” said Wada, who worked at the Diamond Princess as an on-site advise
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31 March, 2020