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Japan torn over whether to test all on cruise ship for coronavirus

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Logic fail. Those kits are designed to be used, not for safe keeping for crisis....which this is! Methinks the govt may not want to "waste" them on so many foreigners.

Anyway, if Japan's medical resources are strained, why doesn't it seek assistance from international organizations and other better-equipped countries?

22 ( +27 / -5 )

Japan torn over whether to test all on cruise ship for coronavirus

Please, dont exaggerate the facts! Japan is definitely NOT "torn" over anything! The authorities here have done the prudent thing and not allowed these potentially sick people to disembark and be the start of a potential epidemic within the country!

Test them all! Better for everyone to be safe than sorry!

18 ( +26 / -8 )

One would have thought they would be testing everybody on the ship from the beginning. Isn’t that the whole point of the quarantine.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

One wonders how China has tested over 42,000 people.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

If the govt tests and treats everyone on the ship . . . they will be able to diminish future risk.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I really do not want to be a Japan basher but Japan has a serious problem with being able to adapt.

If a small parameter from a situation rehearsed ad aeternum changes, all break loose.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Why does it take so long to get anything actually DONE in Japan where government agencies are concerned?

Not got enough testing kits?

Get some!

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Test them all is the best course of action, too high a risk for a few to contaminate many and overburdened our hospital systems.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

What baffles me is that there was a ship in Hong Kong harbor in the same situation and within a few days all passengers were screened and allowed to disembark. What does that tell us? I think Hong Kong has been fairly prudent by shutting links to the mainland, so I don't think they would just open the flood gates for more than two thousand potential carriers if they were not sure.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I don't have a magical solution, but this appears to have been grossly mishandled from the get go. The Japanese should expand their testing capability to deal with the large numbers involved and test all the crew and passengers repeatedly until everyone is cleared as not infected. The crew live in very close quarters, so the spread of the virus would likely be faster in their population. This is a disaster playing out in slow motion. The life of a cook or waiter is every bit as important as that of a passenger.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Saving the test kits for a problem that might or might not happen, sounds really stupid to me. They need it now! How come the people who came back from wuhan have been tested multiple times?

11 ( +17 / -6 )

The inability of Japan's government and medical system to deal with a calamity like this staggering. Waffling, indecision, incompetence and unpreparedness combined.

9 ( +20 / -11 )

Readers, no Japan-bashing please.

I'd say, test 'em all!

Incubation period 2 weeks, so you never know who walks untested off the ship.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Is about damage control. If they use up all their reserve, who would be held responsible if a outbreak happen in a city where millions lived? Currently we don't even know if the nation is safe from the virus nor if anyone has slip into the country or not. No one is crazy to bet the lives of millions like that. Is best to just keep the status as it is, while they resupply their stock. The important things is to ramp up the production for these medical kits. Letting them out is just asking for trouble. Even doctors might get infected. Currently we don't even know what the virus is capable of. Currently the one they tested so far are those who were already sick when the first case was discovered and who were infected during the trip. Now most of the 3000passengers just need to wait patiently in their room. I feel for them, but they should also think about the others who they would put in danger if they leave.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

The whole world it watching and as usual.... Japan waffles.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Whatever it takes, test ALL of these passengers. No considering, no thinking, just test them. Then, quarantine them properly on shore (segregated into small groups) and do everything to maintain their health.

Not testing all the staff on board at the very start was an absolute disastrous mistake.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I am a bit confused about how difficult it is to procure these test kits. I guess demand for them in China must be far outstripping supply which would make it hard for Japan to buy them on the open market, but can’t they be produced domestically?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I say just test everyone. the virus is known to be asymptomatic and would sometimes manifest after a period of incubation. It's better than dealing with sealing off entire wards, cities and prefecture if one person infected manages to escape

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Do the hustle

One would have thought they would be testing everybody on the ship from the beginning. Isn’t that the whole point of the quarantine.

Same here. I was shocked that this isn't even happening, and that there is a debate on it...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

They need to test everyone end of story..

6 ( +7 / -1 )

All humans are created equal. Test and test now.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

They should of not been confined, now you live with the consequences

Given the number of cases discovered onboard, it seems that confining them was completely reasonable.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

News just in - 40 more on board have tested positive, including 1 quarantine officer. TEST THEM ALL.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Either way someone is going to complain. Be safe rather than sorry.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

One wonders how China has tested over 42,000 people.

First test involves the symptoms test, body temperature, signs of early influenza or respiratory symptoms. Next is a more thorough test kit. Overall it takes about 14 days and 2-3 test kits to determine exposure at first but symptoms can arise even 2 weeks later though passing a test as the person could have been exposed in the later days before being released. This is what makes this virus difficult to test.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Olympics? At this level, not prepared.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Did Hong Kong test or merely screen all the passengers they released from the cruise ship there.

All the Diamond Princess passengers have been screened (questioned about symptoms and had their temp taken) from day one, numerous times - they now have their own digital thermometers to 'self-screen' every 4 hours.

Screening =/= Testing.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Did Hong Kong test or merely screen all the passengers they released from the cruise ship there.

They "tested" negative for the virus. So, yeah, they were tested.

From the SCMP

"the testing, which was previously expected to take four days, was completed within one day after mobilising extra manpower to collect samples and handle the laboratory work."

Quite the contrast from Japan, eh. .

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Rainy day, “I am a bit confused about how difficult it is to procure these test kits.”

I do know the PCR testing is laborious and time consuming it I’m also curious about where the kits are manufactured, how expensive are they, how easily available etc. it’s easy to say “test everybody!” etc but in reality how easily done is it?

Meanwhile, I was astonished to read that in the US, samples of evacuees in California are being sent to Atlanta, Georgia on the other side of the country, Where some were mislabeled and not tested, resulting in an infected person being sent back from the hospital to the quarantine facility.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/10/health/evacuee-wuhan-coronavirus-mistakenly-released/index.html

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Bottom line is now Japan cant afford to NOT test everyone.

What bothers me most in this is two things, FIRST Japan trying to ration test kits gives the impression that they want to safe for "local" use...…  SECOND is the authorities cant supply the ship with prescription & non-prescription meds, this should be EASY to do, no excuses on this one!

Sadly the folks on board are going to be in for a much longer quarantine on ship or off

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The HK government quickly tested 1,800 passengers and a large portion of the crew on the cruise ship there. The Japanese government, as usual, is unable to address crises quickly and effectively as no one ever wants to take responsibility or step up and own a decision. So the cruise passengers in Yokohama are just collateral damage to the Japanese politicians.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The vessel is a foreign ship. And most of the passengers are not Japanese nationals. If Japan does not have sufficient testing kits clearly it is the responsibility of the respective nations to provide the necessary testing equipment so that all onboard can be tested. Or, if each respective nation is too cumbersome a singular authority such as WHO or any UN arm should provide them urgently.

Yes, all onboard need to be tested. This is common sense.

YrralToday 06:39 am JST

They should of not been confined, now you live with the consequences

So you think they should all have been free to disembark and mix with everyone on land? Or put them all some place on land where they'd have to be confined anyway?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What could be the down side?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The Japanese government is trying to both humane and prudent and it gets no thanks

Not having enough testing kits a month after the outbreak is not prudent.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

By waiting and pondering, in the end, the Japanese authorities will have had their minds made up for them . The passengers will all be affected by then and then the authorities will have no choice.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

On last night's news. One guy arrived at the end of January on the second plane back from Wuhan with his kid and since he showed no signs of anything was allowed to go home in self-imposed seclusion. He tested negative.

On the 7th February he developed a high temperature and was tested, but it turned up negative for new corona virus. He developed pneumonia and was admitted to hospital and tested again yesterday, and it turned up positive. Three tests, third time lucky.

Perhaps the Japanese government are conversely wasting too much time on conducting thorough testing of each patient, especially if they calculate two or three kits per patient.

(174 infections now confirmed on the ship, including one of the testing staff.)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Locals, doctors say nose and throat swabs are at times throwing up false negatives; 

I read somewhere that a phlegm sample is the only true test since the virus lodges deep in the lungs which also is the cause for extended signs of symptoms and pneumonia.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's talk in England about a prison being infected.

Now that opens a whole new can of worms.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@RainyDay. Hi Rainyday. It is currently difficult to develop a "field kit" for detecting COVID-19. The virus has an RNA genome which require a very sensitive isolation technique. RNA is very sensitive and unstable molecule. This RNA is subjected to a procedure called real-time quantitative PCR which also needs expensive reagents and equipment. Also, these detection procedures should be done in a Class III biosafety facility.

References:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.328.8607&rep=rep1&type=pdf

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.3.2000045

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This incident exposed quite a lot of things that worried me while living in Japan :

That Japan health system is not well prepared to handle contagion outbreaks -from what it implies , the entire nation has only but a few thousand test kits and we don't have exact numbers of health centers and health care workers to respond.

At this point, I would have believed they have already mapped a contingency plan to treat all those on board the ship. Built or modified a space outside to test and treat all of them. The wait-and-see attitude in this dire situation is alarming. 

China , Hongkong are at the front of battle field - why not copy what they are doing right??

Japan can ask for help - I hope pride don't get in the way of solving this crisis.
1 ( +2 / -1 )

It might be good to offer to test those passengers who wish to be tested. They would still be in quarantine if negative, but it might help diminish their stress load. Some passengers know that people they were regularly dining with have now tested positive - so they are more worried than before. There might still be some passengers who feel confident they are fine and knowing that a negative is still not getting them off the ship early, would decline a test.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If Hong Kong, merely a city, can quickly test and release 1,800 ship crew members, while Japan - the world's third biggest economy - struggles to test a couple of hundred, citing "lack of resources," it does raise questions about Japan's competency and preparedness.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Test test and retest them all.

Yes, is unfortunate that they all have to be in quarantine, but that is the situation that they are in. Quarantining them is necessary to protect the population at large. With a country like Japan which is teeming with elderly, it could cause chaos here if it escapes.

In the mean time, how about getting some definitive information for those on board on whether they are infected, carriers or other. The data could also be useful for the authorities when planning release dates, and mapping how far/fast it can spread.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The vessel is a foreign ship. And most of the passengers are not Japanese nationals. If Japan does not have sufficient testing kits clearly it is the responsibility of the respective nations to provide the necessary testing equipment so that all onboard can be tested.

You could claim the same for all tourists and visitors in the country. But its in the interest and security of the nation to test suspected people especially all on the cruise ship where the majority are Japanese.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Quite the contrast from Japan, eh. .

This ^, and I struggle to understand why. Perhaps they don't want to treat infected passengers on land here in Japan?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“Diamond Princess” is a British ship operated by a US cruise company. Let them foot the bill for the quarantine, tests and medical treatment.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

I often like to take a quote from a previous commentor and note some failure of logic or fact. Today I am so spoiled for choice that I don't know where to begin.

I think that this comment gets the failure of common sense (logistics sub-category) award:

Ship them all back to their respective countries. I’m sure they’d rather be treated in their own countries.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

I think that this comment gets the failure of common sense (logistics sub-category) award:

At least they offered a solution. You, on the other hand, have none to offer. Which one is a failure?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It looks like something on the ship is spreading the disease among the passengers. Perhaps they should be quarantined on land, in facilities better able to isolate and care for them?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's talk in England about a prison being infected.

It's a hospital

>

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At least they offered a solution. You, on the other hand, have none to offer. Which one is a failure?

@FizzBit -offering an impractical and implausible course of action is not a solution. It is a course that would lead to a far greater spread of coronavirus even if the logistics could be worked out.

The best "solution" is to leave them in de facto quarantine - onboard the ship.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah_so, both a hospital and a prison. A prisoner in Bullingdon, Oxford repatriated from Thailand is allegedly suspected of carrying new coronavirus.

https://news.sky.com/story/uk-prisoner-tested-for-coronavirus-was-transferred-from-thai-jail-11931564

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whatever it takes, test ALL of these passengers. No considering, no thinking, just test them.

Fighto! - that would be ideal, but the article is clear that there are insufficient test kits to use the remaining kits on those onboard.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichiToday  09:58 am JST

The vessel is a foreign ship. And most of the passengers are not Japanese nationals. If Japan does not have sufficient testing kits clearly it is the responsibility of the respective nations to provide the necessary testing equipment so that all onboard can be tested.

You could claim the same for all tourists and visitors in the country. But its in the interest and security of the nation to test suspected people especially all on the cruise ship where the majority are Japanese.

No I could not claim that since there is no report of insufficuent testing kits for foreign vistors and tourists already in Japan. In addition, such foreigners would have already passed Japan immigration, whereas the passengers aboard the Diamond Princess have not as far as I am aware.

Please show a link that the majority of passengers aboard the Diamond Princess are Japanese. While the number of infected passengers shows Japanese to be highest in number, I have not yet seen a breakdown of all passengers aboard by nationality.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Buy more kits. wth

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It may cost money and use resources to test everyone, but it'll cost a lot less, and require far less resources now then when they let someone who is infected off and the virus spreads through the general public. This is the kind of case when there should be no debate, and where you can see what the hindisight is going to be before it's even foresight. Do it. If they test negative, let them go.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"We would be overrun," the official said

They are overun if not enough kits tot test.

That is common sense conclusion one should have.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Everyone should be aware of the complications surrounding this sort of decision. It seems like every couple of days they discover another two dozen or more infected on the ship. Having 3,700 people in such close quarters may actually be helping the virus to spread; maybe not as quickly and efficiently as on a plane, but there is going to be contact regardless of the precautions taken. Even here in the States people are being quarantined in camps to limit the spread - we have been lucky so far and have very few confirmed cases in just a few states. So remember it is easy to yell from the sidelines crying foul when you do not have the full picture available. We should do what we can to assist and support not only the victims, but the ones looking after them and the ones that have to make the difficult decisions that will affect their lives both for the short term and long term.

Do not forget the price that the doctor that reported the danger from China and the price he finally paid for his honesty and forth rightness of action to warn everyone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Olympics? At this level, not prepared.

EXACTLY... People are going to be going to Japan from all over the world! And if you can't cope with thousands on a single ship how can you deal with hundreds of thousands during the Olympics?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Test the remaining Japanese passengers and quarantine those infected in hospitals. Let other nationals be evacuated by their respective countries.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

One wonders how China has tested over 42,000 people

because they did not and those they did test, they did not do it correctly.

At Outbreak’s Center, Wuhan Residents Question Accuracy of Virus Tests

Locals, doctors say nose and throat swabs are at times throwing up false negatives; medical experts fear outbreak is larger than Chinese data show

https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-outbreaks-center-wuhan-residents-question-accuracy-of-virus-tests-11581454218?mod=hp_lead_pos7

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

They should have tested all passengers and release those who aren't infected like the Italian did.

Reeks of incompetence.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

To test more - kits not eniugh

Send back - other countries are turning cruise ships away.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If Hong Kong, merely a city, can quickly test and release 1,800 ship crew members, while Japan - the world's third biggest economy - struggles to test a couple of hundred, citing "lack of resources," it does raise questions about Japan's competency and preparedness.

Because Hong Kong did not do it correctly.

First they tested "1800 of the crew" but eight of the passengers tested positive.

Stop and think. They did not test any of the passengers, So the sample was not representative. Now the news and here what Hong Kong said:

 "no need for further surveillance or follow-up" of those on board.

and Now the news from Hong Kong:

Coronavirus: community outbreak in Hong Kong

Many of the patients found to be infected with the coronavirus in Hong Kong have not visited the mainland recently. It is believed that a community outbreak of the deadly virus in the city is spreading

What do you think happened?

The passengers on ship were positive and now they it. carried to Hong Kong.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Why, in the name of all that is rational, would they not?!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ofcourse, all people. What are the decision makers thinking ???.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Has Japan become so poor it now has to save the test-kit over people?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hong Kong took 1 day to test all 1800 people on the ship. Japan has the same capabilities and more,

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Japanese government is trying to both humane and prudent and it gets no thanks. I would like to take this time to Thank the Japanese government and the Japanese people for rendering help in tough times.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Although imposing the quarantine was of course the right decision to take as a first measure, given the type of the population on board, it was clearly not something sustainable and the best solution was to test people as quickly as possible. Claiming that they can't get the necessary test kits is utterly ridiculous for a nation which calls itself wealthy and modernized. Like during Fukushima, Japan is again showing that it can't handle well crisis and take decisions fast and effectively.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I mean, this will sound harsh. But Japan doesn't have an obligation to treat these people. It's not a Japanese vessel so Japan is doing them a favour in the first place by testing even a few people. They could easily just send the ship on its way somewhere else.

So while it might suck, I understand the logic for these kits to be reserved for actual people in this country.

Regarding the accumulation of kits, one would think the crisis in China makes it difficult for the other producers ( whom likely have factories in China ) to create a sufficient supply for the market.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

What baffles me is that there was a ship in Hong Kong harbor in the same situation and within a few days all passengers were screened and allowed to disembark.

Because, they did not. They tested 1800 of the crew. From the

All 1,800 crew members test negative for coronavirus, meaning rest on board are safe

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3049714/coronavirus-3600-passengers-and-crew-members

and hong kong just had another big outbreak

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Ship them all back to their respective countries. I’m sure they’d rather be treated in their own countries.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

They should of not been confined, now you live with the consequences

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

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