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The diamond princess allowed passengers to leave the ship after criticism from experts


Roughly 600 passengers left the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on Wednesday, as a controversial shipwide coronavirus quarantine finally began to wind down.


All of those passengers had been tested for the COVID-19 disease by the Japanese health ministry, according to cruise operator Princess Cruises. As they left, they were met in the terminal by the cruise line's president, Jan Swartz.


Several hundred other passengers who aren't taking repatriation flights to their home countries are expected to leave the ship on Thursday.



The quarantine has been heavily criticized for failing to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 among passengers and crew. Even as hundreds of people disembarked, Japanese officials announced 79 more confirmed cases aboard the ship. And in at least one case, a family was informed of a positive test result just hours before they were scheduled to disembark.


A total of 621 people from the cruise ship have now been confirmed to have the newly identified coronavirus — or about 20% of the 3.011 people who had been tested as of Wednesday.


Japanese expert criticizes cruise ship protocols


Some of the sharpest criticism of Japan's handling of the stricken cruise ship came from Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease specialist at Kobe University who posted a video about his visit to the Diamond Princess on Tuesday.


After getting a look around the ship's interior, Iwata said, it "turned out that the cruise ship was completely inadequate in terms of the infection control."


"There was no distinction between the green zone, which is free of infection, and the red zone, which is potentially contaminated by virus," he added.


Iwata's comments quickly drew attention in Japan. In response to questions about red and green zones on the ship, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato insisted that sections of the ship have been "properly managed," The Japan Times reports. It adds that another government official said the crew had taken "thorough measures" to stop infections from spreading.


In the YouTube video, Iwata called the ship's environment "completely chaotic," saying that "people could come and go" regardless of whether they were wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves, face masks and other gear. He added that one medical officer had seemingly given up protecting herself and others, believing she was likely already infected.


"I dealt with lots of infections — more than 20 years," Iwata said. "I was in Africa dealing with the Ebola outbreak. I was in other countries dealing with the cholera outbreak. I was in China in 2003 to deal with SARS."


In those outbreaks, Iwata said, "I never had fear of getting infections myself ... because I know how to protect myself and how to protect others."


"But inside Princess Diamond, I was so scared," he added. "I was so scared of getting COVID-19 because there was no way to tell where the virus is."


Criticizing a lack of carefulness on the ship, Iwata said there was also no clear leadership role by medical experts.


"There was no single professional infection control person inside the ship, and there was nobody in charge of infection prevention as a professional. The bureaucrats were in charge of everything," he said.


When he raised those concerns with a senior officer of Japan's health ministry, Iwata added, the official was "very unhappy" with his suggestions for improving protections on the ship.


In his video, Iwata also noted that Japan, unlike the U.S. and other countries, does not have an agency with the specific task of combating disease and infections, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and similar agencies in other countries.


內容來自 聽力課堂網:http://www.762801.live/show-500-465997-1.html

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