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Cruise ships become floating prisons

Do you guys know what happened on the Diamond Princess cruise ship? Do you think we should save the people on board? Or should we keep them on board until all the persons are tested? However, there is one big problem for testing all the people which is testing takes time. Keeping people from getting off the boat before the tests done. People who were not infected onboard may have a higher chance of being infected. For the reason that some cabins are enclosed, only the central air conditioners can keep the air flowing, while coronaviruses can spread by aerosol. This means spending one extra minute on the boat increases the chance of infection. But if you let them leave the boat, the countries who receive them are put into dangerous situations which lead the virus into their country. This is similar to the Trolley Car Problem we discussed in the class with one difference which is there are only a few people on the track who face a high risk of death. This relates to the ethic concept we learned in class. What would you do morally?

On February 16th, another 70 people were infected with the coronavirus on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama. The ship was carrying more than 3,700 passengers and crew from more than 50 countries and regions. Until now, 1,219 people have been tested, the total number of infections to 355. For the new cases, 38 showed no symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever and cough. There are three countries the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong, China announce to rescue its residents on the ship. The U.S. Embassy sent a letter on Saturday to the Americans on board, saying a chartered plane will be scheduled to pick them up. To prevent passengers with symptoms from leaving Japan, all the Americans passengers will be screened before boarding, which means those with symptoms will be treated in Japan said by the CDC. Those without symptoms will be quarantined for another 14 days after returning to the United States. The Canadian government has also arranged a plane and implemented the same treatment with its residents in the way the US does. Authorities in Hong Kong, China, said on Saturday that arrangements had been made to evacuate Hong Kong residents aboard the diamond princess, but that the timing is uncertain. Japanese officials said Tokyo would assist all the countries which make similar evacuation arrangements.

Japan’s health ministry initially planned to keep all passengers and crew on board until the quarantine period ended. However, it is unclear whether the quarantine will be extended because a large number of passengers are not tested. Passengers over the age of 80 and their travel companions can leave before the quarantine period ends after they finished the infection test said by the health ministry last Thursday. Others who have pre-existing conditions or live in cabins with no windows are given priority to get off the boat early. Meanwhile, there are 53 infection cases in Japan today. Katsunobu Kato, health minister, said the rising number of infections among ordinary Japanese could mean a new phase in the spread of the virus.

But what about people from other countries except for American, Hang Kong China, Canada? Testing these people takes a lot of Japanese testing people and resources, and who’s going to pay for the money, the resources, the labor force for treating the infections?


The Japan Times New. (2020). Japan confirms 70 new cases of COVID-19 from Diamond Princess cruise ship. Retrieved from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/16/national/science-health/japan-70-new-cases-covid19-diamond-princess-cruise-ship/#.XknaiC_Mw1I

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