WHO Exec Backs Japan's Initial Actions on Virus-Hit Cruise Ship

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Berlin, Feb. 19 (Jiji Press)--World Health Organization Executive Director Michael Ryan has backed Japan's initial moves related to the quarantining of a cruise ship that has been hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus originating in China.

The Japanese government's decision to quarantine passengers and crew members of the Diamond Princess on-board "was much more preferable, obviously at the time, than...having everyone disperse around the world," Ryan, who is in charge of emergency responses, said at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday. The government then adjusted to the reality of the spreading new coronavirus and took necessary measures with other countries to evacuate people from the ship, he noted.

Ryan, however, suggested that "it is very easy, in retrospect, to make judgments on...decisions made at a certain point," citing the difficulty of making the right decision in an ever-changing situation.

The ship is currently quarantined at the port of Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo.

The Diamond Princess was quarantined when it arrived in Naha in the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa on Feb. 1. but the quarantine clearance was canceled after a Hong Kong passenger who disembarked from the ship in late January was found to have been infected with the virus.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press