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Controversial quarantine of coronavirus-affected cruise ship comes to an end


Controversial quarantine of coronavirus-affected cruise ship comes to an end

diamond princess corona
Photo: AP

A controversial quarantine period on the Diamond Princess cruise ship is set to expire today.

For more than two weeks, thousands of people have been stuck on the ship, docked in the Japanese port city of Yokohama. With 356 confirmed cases of coronavirus on the vessel, the ship has the largest concentration of victims of the virus outside mainland China.

The crisis aboard the Diamond Princess has tested governments with nationals on board, which include the US, Canada and Japan. Thus far, management of the outbreak has been nothing short of a fiasco, with the Japanese government’s quarantine order not being enforced on the 1,000-person crew.

Even in light of the difficulties of containing a virus that spreads from human-to-human contact, the Diamond Princess will likely go down as an episode of incompetence in international health cooperation. Regardless of how the crisis concludes, calls for a more centralised international plan to contain the pandemic—potentially coming from international bodies such as the World Health Organisation—will likely result, and something as concrete as an international plan of action on the virus could materialise. Such a plan of action could see the creation of an international task force to handle future crises at sea or during situations when multi-national factors are present.

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