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Engineer from Berhampur waiting to leave Diamond Princess

There are 138 Indians on board the Diamond Princess ship, including six passengers and 131 crew members.

There are 138 Indians on board the Diamond Princess ship, including six passengers and 131 crew members.   | Photo Credit: AP

Confined to his room, he lives in fear and recounts harrowing experience

Sibashis Nayak, a young software engineer hailing from Odisha’s Berhampur, is stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, now quarantined off Yokohoma along the coast of Japan due to the threat of infection from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak.

Mr. Nayak has been in touch with his family and friends in Berhampur on social media, sharing his harrowing experience over the past weeks. Has has been requesting the Indian government to take steps to evacuate Indians to their home country, as the United States has done.

Living with fear

According to Mr. Nayak, a routine check has proved that he has not been infected by the virus till now. He is living in fear that, with time, all the people on board the ship may become infected.

Over WhatsApp messages to this reporter, Mr. Nayak said that, from Tuesday onward, all the passengers and crew members of the cruise liner will be again tested for SARS-CoV-2 by Japanese health authorities.

There are 138 Indians on board the ship, including six passengers and 131 crew members.

 

Mr. Nayak said five of his colleagues are also on board the ship. They are employees of a software firm in the Gurgaon area in New Delhi.

On January 10, Mr. Nayak and his colleagues travelled to Malaysia by plane on official work for their company. From there, they travelled to Vietnam and boarded the Diamond Princess from Vietnam’s ChinMay Bay.

The cruise ship was quarantined after one person who disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25 tested positive for COVID-19.

Remains confined

For the past three weeks, Mr. Nayak has remained confined to his cabin. His colleagues also prefer isolation. Food has been a major problem for Indian passengers as mostly non-vegetarian food was being served. Mr. Nayak alleged that plates were often not being washed properly, due to which he has stopped taking normal meals. Added to it, he fears that the virus may be contracted through the consumption of meat.

 

“I only prefer to eat hot noodles or fruits as precaution,” he said. He buys his noodles and fruits from a shop on cruise liner, when he comes out of his room for few minutes everyday, also to spend 10-20 minutes on the open deck.

According to Mr. Nayak, close contact with other persons has been discouraged.

The Indian Embassy in Japan has reported that four of the Indian crew members had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, and are responding well to medical attention onshore. In the last two days, 137 new cases of COVID-19 infection have been found on the ship. Around 2,700 passengers and 1,000 crew members from 56 countries are on-board.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:58:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/engineer-from-berhampur-waiting-to-leave-diamond-princess/article30843745.ece

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