Over two-week long quarantine on Diamond Princess cruise ship amplified the highly transmissible disease resulting in more cases of coronavirus, said a report. According to a study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine, the researchers said that early evacuation of all passengers and crew would have prevented many more of them from infection.
On February 3, the coronavirus outbreak on the cruise ship was reported with 10 cases initially which were followed by public health measures like the removal and isolation of ill passengers and quarantine of non-ill passengers. The report said that the measures prevented more than 2000 additional new cases compared to no intervention but the 17 per cent positive cases on the ship would have been far less in case of early evacuation.
“Early evacuation of all passengers on a cruise ship - a situation with confined spaces and high intermixing - is recommended as soon as an outbreak of COVID-19 is confirmed,” said the report in its conclusion.
Joacim Rocklov, the principal author of the study, said that the rate of infection was four times higher than the worst infected areas in China. Rocklov opined that the number of infections in case of early evacuation would have been around 70 instead of more than 600 cases and called the decision ‘questionable’.
The novel coronavirus has triggered a fear of pandemic after Middle Eastern and European nations reported death from the virus. According to the latest report, 47 new deaths in China due to coronavirus infections have been confirmed, taking the total death toll because of the deadly virus to over 2,800.
Iran has reported the most number of deaths due to coronavirus after China and Gulf nations including Bahrain and Kuwait also confirmed cases linked to Iran. In a bid to contain the virus, Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended the entry of citizens from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to the cities of Mecca and Medina.
(With agency inputs)