TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The government said it would put the 74 Indonesian crewmembers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship under a 28-day observation when they returned from Japan. The observation period was longer than that the evacuees from Wuhan must endure, which was 14 days.
The plan was taken following the high number of confirmed coronavirus cases aboard the ship, which has reached 634 to date. The cruise ship is known to carry a total of 3,711 people from various countries, comprising 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crewmembers.
“So the positive figure of infection probability is higher than that of Wuhan. Wuhan is 5 percent, while the ship is 15 percent. Because the ship is small, so the infection probability is larger,” said the secretary of the Directorate-General of Disease Control and Prevention (P2P) of the Health Ministry, Achmad Yurianto, at his office on Friday, February 21, 2020.
Besides, he added, the clinical characters of the virus had been found to be changing. “According to our latest findings, the patients who tested positive showed lighter symptoms or even no symptom at all. So we are concerned about this, we fear that this virus has mutated. So, the incubation period for this ship will be doubled,” he said.
Presently, the 74 Indonesian crewmembers of the Diamond Princess are still confined on the ship as the Japanese authorities did not provide any quarantine site on land.
The government said it would immediately announce which option it would take to evacuate the Indonesians after its Japanese countepart announced the screening results of the crewmembers.
“The Japanese government would probably announce the results tomorrow on the 22nd [of February]. Those who tested positive will be rushed to hospital. As for those who tested negative, the Japanese government will ask the governments of their home countries to pick them up,” he said.
The government has readied two options pertaining to the evacuation of the Indonesians. The first is by sea using Indonesian warship (KRI) Suharso, which is a hospital assistance ship. The second is by air using a Boeing-737 Garuda Indonesia airplane. “The president has the final say. There is no decision yet,” he said.
Reporter: Dewi Nurita | Translator: Galuh Kurnia Ramadhani