'Soon we will all be infected': Indian crew on quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship pleads for help as coronavirus cases spike

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Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Coronavirus Quarantine Yokohama

Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

  • The number of coronavirus cases among passengers aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship has almost doubled, going from an initially reported 70 to 136 as of Monday.

  • Indian crew members are making public appeals, begging their government to rescue them.

  • In a series of Facebook posts, Binay Kumar Sarkar said that those who are healthy should be allowed to disembark before they too contract the coronavirus, which is "risking everyone's [lives]."

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Verified coronavirus cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship surged over the weekend. The Indian crew members on board are begging their government for help.

On Monday, officials in China and Japan confirmed that 136 passengers on board the ship that arrived in Yokohama on February 3 have been diagnosed with having the virus. They've been quarantined at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal ever since their arrival.

The number of cases jumped from around 70, the number of cases that were initially confirmed. The ship is carrying 3,700 passengers and crew members overall.

A group of Indian crew members have been sharing videos on Facebook since Thursday, begging their government to rescue them.

One of them, Binay Kumar Sarkar, said that he and his team members are "scared." Speaking in Hindi and flanked by five other crew members, he called not only on the Indian government but also the United Nations to enforce an "urgent segregation." Those who are healthy should be allowed to disembark before they, too, contract the coronavirus, he said.

"Day by day [it's] spreading ... rapidly," he wrote, and "and risking everyone's [lives]." 

Speaking to Business Insider, Sarkar described the situation on the ship as "out of control." He said that Japanese authorities should be screening everyone on board for coronavirus. People are willing to wait till the results come back, but, if they don't test positive, they should be allowed to leave the ship and go home to their families.

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"There are lot of people who don't have coronavirus so why are we all being confined here?" he questioned.

Crew members have not been tested for the coronavirus, Sarkar said, noting that Indians make up 160 crew members and eight passengers. The only people being screened are those whose temperature rises above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius).

"Please save at least those of us who are healthy," he added. "What is the point of coming after we have all been infected or worse?"

Sarkar told The Washington Post that the crew serves three meals a day to passengers' rooms.

A constant worry, though, is "who will be next."

Being trapped on the ship is fanning fears that "very soon we will all be infected," he told The Post.

While plenty of his team mates are worried about losing their jobs if they speak out, Sarkar told Business Insider that his only priorities are his health and family. More than anything, he stressed, he wants to stay alive. 

The Diamond Princess' 14-day quarantine is set to last another week. 

The ship, which is docked off Yokohama, has been placed under a 14-day quarantine that will last until next week. Those who have tested positive for the coronavirus have been taken off the ship for treatment.

The Diamond Princess hosts the highest concentration of coronavirus cases outside of China, where the outbreak began, The New York Times reported. People who are still cooped up on the ship have described going "stir-crazy."

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