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Quarantine measures questioned as woman tests positive after leaving cruise ship

59 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

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At this stage, does it really do anything to question the quarantine methods after the ship has already, for the most part, been evacuated? 23 people were able to leave without being tested and others tested positive after supposedly being found to not be a carrier. The incubation period is different for everyone. But questioning the methods of a past event won't change the current dilemma. Just create better processes to prevent such things and focus on the point at hand.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

On Saturday, around 100 more passengers who had reportedly been in close contact with infected people on board were allowed to get off.

seriously?

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato has also apologized after 23 passengers were allowed to leave without being properly tested.

sorry, not sorry...

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Quarantine was the right answer, but the fault the Japanese government made was to leave it in the hands of the cruise company and ships crew to manage and run it; not a task they were prepared or trained for. I am sure they are right in saying there was nowhere suitable to quarantine so many at once on land so instead of abrogating their responsibility on to the ship and crew they should have taken over the entire ship and quarantined both passengers and crew, bringing on board staff and supplies to run it.

The problem lies in the sclerotic and unimaginative Government bureaucracy.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

*The woman in her 60s returned to her home in Tochigi Prefecture by train after she disembarked on Wednesday*

Absolute and utter madness.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

It's long past the point where China was the only source of incubation :

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/02/21/world/asia/south-korea-coronavirus-shincheonji.amp.html

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The Abe administration again shows its incompetence. Why didn't they contact infectious disease experts such as Prof. Iwata on DAY ONE. Passengers could have been put into quarantine in groups in suitable facilities. Instead, those responsible, and this includes Abe Shinzo, dithered and now we have this mess. Economy tanking, tourism tanking, Olympics tanking. Sales taxes not tanking. Time for Abe and cohorts to go.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

That was not a quarantine, it failed everytime they had a new case they should count from 0 again, they didn't, despite of having lots of new cases everyday they didn't accept that the quarantine was not working, it had a lot of mistakes as Doctor Iwata explained and beside that, they just let the people disembark, 1000 people to the community from a hot virus spot to the community without any quarantine. That is the reason why other countries had their people on quarantine again because what happend on the cruise just speed up the infection. 

And yes it's important to say that it failed because they keep making wrong decisions, they should allow an expert to lead the situation as it is, a health crisis

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Watching the TV it’s easy to tell how the jgov are in damage control mode again as they pull up professionals and witnesses to debunk the Kobe uni Dr. then this it’s just adding insult to injury. Can’t trust a word of it anymore!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

*The woman in her 60s returned to her home in Tochigi Prefecture by train after she disembarked on Wednesday**

Absolute and utter madness.

You’ve always been a big fan of Abe. Do you think he and his administration should take responsibility for this circus?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The whole thing is a big joke.

Schoolteachers unwittingly possibly spreading the virus is one thing.

People being released onto public transport from a government controlled quarantine is completely another.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

But they assured everyone 2 weeks of quarantine would be enough. So much for those government specialists!

17 ( +17 / -0 )

It's rather obvious that the quarantine period needs to much longer than 14 days. It is also obvious that China failed firstn and foremost to warn the world. China now reports that human-to-human infection may have been happening as early as late November 2019. While we worry about those released from the Cruise Ship, take a look at the locations of infection cases. They are all over the place and many people have no record of travel.

China remained silent while an absurd number of Chinese tourists went to other countries in Jan 2020. They have been all over Japan, some may have been infected, and being asymptomatic never even knew they were infected. I believe Japan is on the brink of an epidemic. Everyone can expect to get it, but nearly all can expect to recover, excluding the high risk categories. Provided Japan's medical system does not get overwhelmed as it has in China.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Why in hell does the health ministry keep sticking to this idea that a 14 day quarantine is enough? There have been far too many cases where the people who have been infected, have shown symptoms well AFTER that period ?

THe CDC and other outlets are reporting that it could be as long as 20 to 25 days!

Better to make people wait than have it spread further!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Kato defended Japan's on-board quarantine, telling a TV program Saturday there was no medical facility large enough to admit more than 3,000

Mr. Kato, you did a perfect job. And you are so right. That was one of the best policy decision making ever with the cruise job. Gokuro sama desu.

Now move forward. Think about what you can do now instead of talking about the cruise ship.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

It never was stoppable. It all becomes rather clear when you realize that. The government was just going through motions as usual, putting up a front of doing something helpful while doing nothing of the sort. But its hard to blame them if the constant calls for the government to "do something" littering this board is a sentiment shared by the Japanese people. Well the can't do anything. They never could. Get used to it. And get busy working on how you will protect your own self and your own family.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

And she isn’t the only one. There are already 18 Americans, 7 Aussies, and 1 Israeli that also tested positive upon their return home.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Called it 3 days ago

https://japantoday.com/category/national/Gov%27t-says-2-elderly-people-from-cruise-ship-have-died-another-2-officials-infected-with-coronavirus#comment-2088070

We all knew this was going to happen. Do not bow, we do not forgive, you messed up and will have caused the deaths of many people. Abe OUT!!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Why didn't they contact infectious disease experts such as Prof. Iwata on DAY ONE. 

An excellent point, Patrica. I thank Prof. Iwata for speaking out about this. It always seems the government and businesses here are focused on or distracted from the central issue of solving problems. I feel this tendency is related respecting the hierarchies and cliques that business and government continue to adhere to stubbornly. Prof. Iwata is rather young and not from the government's preferred universities, so the government picked someone older and connected to one of the top prestigious universities (Keio). As we know, people working collaboratively is not an embarrassment but a way to solve problems effectively and quickly. I hope people start waking up that they need to focus on the problem, and rather than maintaining hierarchies and friendship in this global society.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

They were kept on the ship because Japan doesn’t have a facility to handle 3,000? WTF - when will we have that facility? And one for 10,000, 30,000, 70,000...? These bureaucrats need to get with the program of saving lives...

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Hate to say this but time to kiss the Olympics good bye. There’s no confidence being given. I’m waiting for our Dear Leader to say it’s all under control.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

@OssanAmerica... 8% of over 70s and 14% of over 80s is hardly ‘nearly everybody’. As a high risk of morbidity person, I do protest the very poor showing of my government. Blunder after blunder... Can’t quarantine 3,000, can’t test more than 3,800/day, still uses 14 days...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Idiots. On this site many from the beginning were saying this would happen. Instead of blustering about how much you know about the law (a fickle thing) common sence although not a strong point for Japan does win in the gambatte Tokyo/Fukashima/Hikido Olympics.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

With all this quarantine controversy, everyone wants to point a finger at others, especially the government. There is no government in the world that can guarantee to do the right thing and protect 100% of the people 100% of the time for 100% of any disasters or epidemics. Sad but it is also true that no human can keep an eye on ALL persons in any environment and control each and every person's actions. Therefore, under these circumstances and situation poiinting fingers and blaming others does not resolve anything. What is important for everyone to cooperate and work together to find the best solution to the problems at hand.

That includes the media to not exasperate the public when calm and rational and practical approach is needed in response to the dangers at hand.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

It was not a good set up from the start. They quarantined the ship, but the passengers were still able to frequent common areas.

No matter how they try to justify it, not testing passengers before they left the ship is incompetence that could (will) cost lives.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Everything that doctor said online is now confirmed to be true. The entire quarantine process was handled by bureaucrats, rather than medical experts. Why are politicians in charge of this? Doctors and medical institutions should have been put in charge of this whole operation from the beginning, not politicians. They should put that doctor Kentaro Iwata in charge, rather than trying to discredit him to save face. I looked at his twitter yesterday, and just as i thought, his posts are swarmed with right-wingers hating on him and posting old tweets trying to discredit him. Apparently some have even called his university and tried to get him fired. Many of course accusing him of being a Korean. How can anybody be so mindlessly idiotic to prioritize "saving face" when people's lives are in danger? Idiocracy.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

What was the condition behind their release? Just released like a bird?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Cancel Olympics or not the bigger question is will any athletes actually turn up?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Where's virusrex now??

Didn't take long to demonstrate that the quarantine was indeed a failure, and that NIID cooked the data and lied in their report. NIID is nothing but a government propaganda wing.

The government have a huge habit of cover-ups, current numbers are low because they barely allow anyone to be tested. Good luck getting treatment if you get infected!

https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/videonews/jnn?a=20200222-00000019-jnn-soci

They are taking no action and will take no action to slow the spread or ready the health infrastructure. Even as of now, there will be a concert by Perfume coming up this Tuesday and Wednesday in Tokyo Dome.

https://www.perfume-web.jp/news/individual.php?id=3459

Millions may die, and the MHLW will just come and say, shouganai, we done our best. And of course, they will get re-elected, and repeat the same thing for the next crisis.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

"on a train" ! presumably a typical crowded one !! well that's a recipe for multiple contacts and could literally involve thousands of people of all ages. How effective is the health tracing services in Japan, it is doubtful unlike air travel, is there are details kept of passengers. Maybe the ones who paid by credit card can be traced but it takes alot of time & effort. I know as I was once in charge of such tracing in a provincial industrial town. Our "success" rate on a good day was never better that 75% -often much lower.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Maybe as a matter of interest there are no longer any dedicated isolation hospitals in the UK. Until about 1970 there used to be several strategically placed around the country and available on very short notice 24/7 with dedicated trained medical staff on call. However, due to costs and operating on the basis that such outbreaks will not happen again (why I cannot answer) they were stood down and demolished as they were invariably old. I guess the same has occurred in Japan and other western countries. With hindsight the various Health Ministries were extremely negligent and we are paying the high price to day. Will things change in the future with better provisions ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The sheer incompetence on this is astounding. Some serious lessons better be learned from this...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

In all, it took Japanese officials more than 72 hours to impose a lockdown after they were first notified about the case connected to the ship.

The delay by the Japanese government, along with slapdash and ineffective containment measures during the two-week isolation period, would help turn the Diamond Princess into a floating epidemiological disaster.

next week will be the real beginning in Japan and I hope the end is not to far away! People wash your hand!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Kazetsukai...

With all this quarantine...

You must be a sure defender of the Japanese Government / relevant authorities. How can you even justify the release of people from the ship without testing them! Simple things like further quarantine of 14 days on land could have been done effectively and easily but the Government failed in its responsibility to do so. You mentioned people cooperating now to find a common solution??? The solution was there for the Government from the very beginning but they failed miserably by taking one wrong step and then another. The media is simply highlighting the truth and the dangers and you want them to keep quiet and hide the information from the public and the world...speaks a lot about you! Bottom line is that the Japanese Authorities did a terrible job dealing with this whole scenario and the rapid spread / transmission of this virus which will come in the days ahead in Japan is solely the fault of the Japanese Government especially the health minister!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Chinese have found that even though after some have been "cured" of the virus, they can then later be found to have the virus again, and infect others:

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3051966/coronavirus-wuhan-quarantine-all-cured-patients-14-days-after

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Tora... exactly! You are spot on!

@Kazetsukai... no use defending the actions of the Japanese authorities because everyone knows that they dropped the ball big time on dealing with this scenario! They made massive errors from the beginning to the end! And the media has a free right to report things how they are ( Japan is not North Korea where media is not free )! The media doesn’t need to lie and praise the Government for doing a good job! They are not causing a panic but merely highlighting the actual reality which some Japanese people like you probability don’t want to hear!

@ MikeH... you nailed it!

@Yubaru...great comments with excellent insights as always!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

mmwkdw

It just gets better, doesn't it?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As for this Woman's possible route of travel:

As she's old she may have opted for this route - less walking between changes:

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Yokohama,+Kanagawa/Tochigi/@35.912602,139.1570548,9z/am=t/data=!4m15!4m14!1m5!1m1!1s0x60185becbbb66509:0x69683f660285400!2m2!1d139.6379639!2d35.4436739!1m5!1m1!1s0x601f3f8106b1aa97:0x226136dc12e5b1dc!2m2!1d139.7341396!2d36.3823772!3e3!5i2

Negishi Line Tokaido Line Tobu-Nikko Line

Now we have a potentially disastrous situation whereby anyone unknowingly sitting or standing close to her is potentially infected, and will infect others cascading the viral infection throughout the region.

As for the other 23 ... possibly the same situation there too. This virus mainly kills the Elderly - so I wonder what will happen when we have the first Politician falling sick ? Or even the Emperor himself... he's just turned 60.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Oopsy. Deep bow time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think only when politicians start falling ill maybe the government actually do something.

Even if the press says something, and even if all the citizens are complaining, the government won't react. Why? Because there's no alternative government. The politicians know they will remain in power no matter what happens. The citizens certainly will not protest like Korea.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In the end "this" is the result of no one is responsible.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese government investigative protocol. First rule out government.

Second, rule out government. Third, rule out government.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There is a point when you have to admit not everything can be controlled.

Then you need to use your brain to really understand what is the real threat.

So far covid-19 seems to be a quite mild disease, i.e. young and healthy people have no other risk than being a bit sick for a few days.

Enjoy spring coming with outdoor activities, keep calm and wash you hands.i

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Ascissor - I wish that the Virus infection would simply just get better... but no, it seemingly does not. It's increasingly starting to look like HIV, once infected it stays with you and you continually need to be on Medication - I seriously hope that this isn't the case.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Health Minister Katsunobu Kato has also apologized after 23 passengers were allowed to leave without being properly tested."

Hang on... I thought Japan's handling of this was perfect. Ah... this must be someone else's fault again.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@blahblah222 - Yes. I hope that the Chinese CCP Politicians will be the first ones to fall foul of this Virus. And after they've all gone, that we have a cure for the virus to give to all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Other Japanese media reporting bullying and discrimination by Japanese coworkers and locals towards those who assisted passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess.

Disgusting.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mr. Kato, you did a perfect job. And you are so right. That was one of the best policy decision making ever with the cruise job. Gokuro sama desu.

Now move forward. Think about what you can do now instead of talking about the cruise ship.

Love your sense of humor and sarcasm.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The incubation period for a person infected by the novel coronavirus is still unknown. This case shows that a person at an incubation stage may test negative but later develop a full-fledged symptom.

Taking into consideration the Chinese authorities' report that even a person with no symptom of the novel coronavirus disease can infect others, how can one interpret the health ministry of Japan's permission for all test-negative Japanese passengers to disembark the ship and go home unguarded?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If they can't manage a cruise ship and after almost 2 months since the outbreak "there [is] no medical facility large enough to admit more than 3,000 people at once" the Olympic Committee should cancel the Olympics in this 38 million Megalopolis immediately. Japan has neither the competence, nor the facilities, nor the number of qualified personnel (incl. doctors and nurses who mostly don't speak English) to manage an international event of this scale.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The Kobe University professor later said he had heard from a colleague on board that quarantine procedures had improved, but still recommended that all those disembarking the ship should be monitored for at least 14 days and should avoid contact with others.

This is a somewhat unprecedented situation with few good options. The quarantine has been a failure but the original goal of preventing the virus from spread is laudable. The passengers can’t be held onboard any longer as it seems to be a cause of further spread. Iwata’s approach seems most appropriate at this point. Get the passengers off the ship but further isolate and monitor them for at least 14 days.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This virus mainly kills the Elderly - so I wonder what will happen when we have the first Politician falling sick ? Or even the Emperor himself... he's just turned 60.

Sixty is not elderly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just read “Abe told the task force members that some medical institutions have begun administering the anti-flu drug Avigan to virus carriers as part of the efforts to find a treatment.” Should it not be called Abegain as pharma is big business!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Ascissor - I wish that the Virus infection would simply just get better... but no, it seemingly does not. It's increasingly starting to look like HIV, once infected it stays with you and you continually need to be on Medication - I seriously hope that this isn't the case.

Since it is airborne, if it is true, uninfected people will need to stay away from infected people forever unless they are wearing protection because eventually everyone would get it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kato defended Japan's on-board quarantine, telling a TV program Saturday there was no medical facility large enough to admit more than 3,000 people at once.

Of course there wasn't. This debacle completely demonstrates how Japanese culture prevents them from doing anything no written in their rule book. The rule book doesn't say anything about how to handle this, so we can't do anything about it.

I guess, we just have to endure this one. Let's just all get sick and get this over with. The government obviously WON'T protect us.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

China has reported a few cases that incubated up to 24 days, not 14. Any quarantine must have a new period now, not 14 days, but 24.

If there is any risk of a quarantine not being 100%, then the clock needs to start over.

Say there are 3 passengers in quarantine, A, B, C. One is sick already on day-0, A. Over time A--B--C.

The quicker the infections happen, symptoms are seen, and tests effectively show the infection, the better it is. What happens if B and C are infected by A while standing in line for the bus to the train home on day-14?

A never gets sick, but becomes immune after 24 days. That's an extra 10 days walking around, having lunches, going to work. B and C are still walking around today.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Quarantining the ship was the right thing to do. How the quarantine was handled is open to criticism.

At this time of international crisis, the government over here has slashed the budget for the CDC (Center for Disease Control) by over 1.5 billion dollars over ten years. To make up for it, they have slashed taxes on billionaires and corporations by over 1.5 trillion dollars over ten years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It was not necessary to have all 3,600 people put into a conventional medical facility. Only the sick need to be hospitalized. Everyone else, including the crew, could have been put into a tent city, one in which they are isolated by family units, and food is provided by outside units. As long as they are really isolated from each other, a scientifically recognized period of time of quarantine would be sufficient to protect the general population.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hate to ask this but why is our government here beginning to look like Xi’s in Beijing? Teflon. Nothing sticks. Pass the buck.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

BTW, quarantine does mean 40. Why not stick to 40 days? How much damage could we have avoided? All this to save money?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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