Being stuck on a ship for weeks while a virus makes the rounds is probably not how people thought their trip would go when they set sail and the federal government is looking for ways to help. The Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantine has the government “urgently assessing the situation” on board. The next steps for Canadians who are on the oceanliner are still being discussed between officials from here and ones in Japan.
According to a tweet from CTV National News journalist Omar Sachedina, a Canadian couple on the Diamond Princess was sent an email on February 15 from the government following news that the U.S. is working on getting its citizens off the ship because of COVID-19.
“Your health and safety is our absolute priority,” the email said.
Three officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada have been deployed to Japan and are “urgently assessing the situation aboard the ship.”
Global Affairs Canada officials are also in talks with Japanese authorities to figure out what the next steps are.
The email also urged anybody with immediate medical concerns to consult with the ship’s personnel and medical authorities that are on board. There’s no word yet if they’ll be evacuating passengers like the U.S.
This is an email sent to a Canadian couple aboard #diamondprincess following news of a US charter coming to Japan t… https://t.co/cABgSrQXSb— Omar Sachedina (@Omar Sachedina)1581769731.0
“We are aware that this is a stressful period for you and we want to assure you that your safe return is our paramount objective,” the email said.
Global News also confirmed that the government is urgently assessing what’s going on aboard the Diamond Princess.
On February 13, François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, tweeted that Public Health Agency members arrived on February 14 and Canadian Armed Forces medical officers will soon be deployed as well.
According to CNN, the U.S. embassy in Tokyo sent an email to Americans on the ship that there will be a voluntary evacuation on February 16 during the evening.
After hearing about what our neighbours are doing, many people were left wondering about Canada.
"What the hell is Canada doing?" one person asked on Twitter.
@globalnews “Still assessing” translates into “we really don’t know what the fluck we’re doing, why is this any different?”— Joe Albertan (@Joe Albertan)1581789363.0
So @JustinTrudeau what is Canada doing for those Canadians on the #Diamond_Princess https://t.co/oq7HMDqSzQ— Kristin 💜💙💚 mini2z (@Kristin 💜💙💚 mini2z)1581775421.0
The cruise ship has been docked in Yokohama since February 4 and passengers have been quarantined since then after the first round of health screenings.
According to CTV News, there are 255 Canadians on board which is more than the original estimate of 251.
As required by Japan’s ministry of health, the ocean vessel has to stay quarantined in Yokohama for 14 days which would be February 19.