Irish Examiner View: Cruise passengers held in quarantine

Irish Examiner View: Cruise passengers held in quarantine

It is not necessary to have an over-active, tossing-in-bed imagination to conclude that conditions, and the atmosphere, aboard the cruise liner off Japan where at least 61 of the 3,700 people on board have contacted coronavirus is grim and is likely to become even more so.

The cruise ship Diamond Princess has been under a two-week quarantine since arriving in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on Monday.

Controls were put in place after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.

Passengers have been confined to cabins in an attempt to contain the virus.

How this episode might end is difficult to predict as there are already at least 20 cases of the disease in Japan.

An earlier attempt to contain it led to Chinese whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang being punished for raising the alarm last December.

His death from the virus this week set off an explosion of anger, grief, and demands for freedom of speech in China.

It must also, once again, raise doubts about the reliability of details of the outbreak released through China’s official channels.

The outbreak, which has killed at least 640 people in mainland China, has raised concerns about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which begin on July 24.

Indeed, the situation is so fraught that Hong Kong’s government has announced that travellers from China face up to six months in jail and fines for breaching quarantine measures.

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