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Coronavirus-Stricken Cruise Ship Crew Member Speaks Out
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Coronavirus, group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the virus causes respiratory infections.

While passengers aboard the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship have been in quarantine for more than a week, the 1,000-person crew on the ship has not been. Staff members are deeply concerned that they’re at a greater risk of contracting the novel virus.

Sonali Thakkar, 24, a concerned crew member has spoken out- claiming shipboard workers aren’t properly quarantined and are getting sick.

Thakkar told CNN she fears the virus is spreading among the staff members on the ship-currently docked in Japan- because the crew members still attend to the needs of the cabin-bound passengers.

  
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There are many places where we all are together, not separated from each other,” she told the outlet. “Especially when we sit in the same mess hall and eat together, the place where it can spread very fast.

Thakkar has been recently isolated in her cabin after she came down with a fever, headache and a cough. Workers are “really scared and tense,” she said.

We just want every crew member to be tested and separated from the rest of the people who are infected. Because we don’t know who is carrying the virus or how fast it is spreading,” Thakkar said.

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More than 3,700 people were on board the ship- which is now a floating quarantine zone- when it first went into isolation near the port of Yokohama, Japan, after several passengers got infected with the novel  COVID-19 coronavirus.

With the number of infected patients continuing to increase daily, the cruise ship has the largest outbreak of the virus outside of mainland China.



Japan’s health minister Katsunobu Kato, announced 40 new cases on Wednesday, among those aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

To date, a total of 175 passengers and workers aboard the cruise ship have become infected with the virus. 

According to the New York Times, those diagnosed with the illness have been taken off the ship to local hospitals, but the incubation period can last more than a week, and only 439 of the 3,600 people on board have been tested so far. 

Princess Cruises, which operates the vessel, said in a statement posted on their site that crew members who have been cleared after an initial health screening “are fulfilling their duties as required” and that tests are ongoing.

When not working, crew members are requested to be in their staterooms,” said the statement.

Crew members on board said 10 shipboard workers tested positive for the virus, The Washington Post reported. The workers have complained they have not been quarantined the same way as the passengers, so those who had the virus could have interacted with the rest of the crew.  

A cook aboard the ship spoke to The Post anonymously questioning why the crew has not been isolated. 

Are we not part of the ship? If passengers have been isolated, why haven’t we yet?” he told The Post. 

Some of the employees on the ship deliver food to passengers, while others like Thakkar work on the gangway where passengers are moved on and off the ship, increasing their risk of coming into contact with someone who has the virus. 

I am stuck here, and I don’t know if I will go home alive.” another cook told The Post. 

Gisele Norris, a doctor of public health at Aon National Healthcare said “The most vulnerable people on that ship are the crew because my understanding is they’re not isolated in the same way that passengers are. They’re coming into contact with dirty dishes” 

The deadly virus has killed at least 1,100 people and infected over 45,000 worldwide.



 

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